36 percent of working-age Pinoys pessimistic on quality of life in next 12 months: SWS

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2020 01:03 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2020 01:47 PM

Jeepney drivers beg for spare change as they gather outside the main office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Quezon City on August 20, 2020 pleading to allow them to resume operations. The drivers also call for financial aid under the social amelioration program as some have not received said aid. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - Around 36 percent of working-age Filipinos are expecting their quality of life to worsen in the next 12 months as the COVID-19 pandemic lingered in the country, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. 

This is a slight improvement from the same survey conducted in May, where 43 percent of respondents said they saw quality of life worsening in the next 12 months. 

The figures were based on a non-commissioned survey on 1,555 Filipinos from July 3-6, with the figures being the “second highest proportion in the 37-year series.” 

The survey, done through mobile phones, asked respondents whether they expect life to improve, remain the same or get worse in the next 12 months. 

Other than the 36 percent tagged as "pessimists,” 30 percent expect life to “stay the same,” while 26 percent were “optimistic” that life will improve in the next 12 months. 

They also yielded a net optimism - the subtraction of the percentage of pessimists from the percentage of optimists - rate of -10, slightly higher than the "record low" -18 in May 2020. While this was the case, SWS said the figures are still “very low.” 

Net optimism is rarely negative. Only 10 percent of all SWS surveys recorded a score of net zero or lower. The latest findings warrant that only 5 out of 137 observations are within very low range, SWS said in a media release. 

Net optimism was highest in Mindanao and Balance Luzon, with both at -5. Metro Manila came next with -9 and Visayas with -28. 

This was an improvement from the net optimism figures presented in May 2020.

Net optimism, was also found to be lower among those whose quality of life worsened, tagged as "losers" by the SWS, those who did not receive government aid amid the pandemic, the “less educated,” and respondents whose families experienced involuntary hunger. 

Meanwhile, the net optimism rate hardly varied across job status, SWS said.

A previous survey released August 13 noted that 79 percent of Filipinos felt their life worsened over the past 12 months, as the Philippines imposed quarantine measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019. 

The pandemic has brought the economy to a recession, while 27 million are jobless.

The survey had sampling error margins of ±2 percent for national percentages, ±6 percent for Metro Manila and ±5 percent each for Balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

 'AN ISSUE WHICH CONCERNS THE ADMIN' 

Reacting to the survey, Malacañang said the pessimism level was an "issue which concerns the administration." 

"The Palace acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine restrictions have adversely affected the socioeconomic conditions of our people for the respondents of the survey to have this opinion. It is for this reason government economists have prepared a whole-of-society program in our recovery plan called Recharge PH to mitigate its impact," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement. 

Among which, Roque said, was the gradual opening of industries, resuming the government's flagship infrastructure program "Build, Build, Build," ramping up health system capacity and preparing for the new normal through "digital transformation." 

"We hope to revitalize the economy and stimulate growth for the betterment of the lives of our people," Roque said.