Pulse Asia: 8 out of 10 Filipinos approve Duterte admin's handling of COVID-19 crisis

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2020 12:59 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2020 02:10 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the public after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on Sept. 14, 2020. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo/File​

MANILA (UPDATE) - Eight out of 10 Filipinos approve of the Duterte administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Pulse Asia survey released Thursday.

The Sept. 14 to 20 poll found that 84 percent of Filipinos had a "positive opinion about the work done by the Duterte administration to control the spread of the novel coronavirus."

Some 10 percent of the respondents were neutral on the government's actions in reining in the contagion while 6 percent disapproved of their performance, showed the poll results.

The survey comes as President Rodrigo Duterte garnered a 91-percent approval rating in the middle of the unprecedented crisis. 

As the pandemic brought economic activities to a standstill, the Philippine government provided cash aid to low-income families, repatriated migrant workers and businesses to fend off the impact of the crisis, which got a stamp of approval from Filipinos.

Of the 1,200 respondents, 84 percent approved of the provision of financial assistance, 9 percent were neutral, while 7 percent were dissatisfied, the September 2020 Ulat ng Bayan national survey showed.

Some 92 percent of Filipinos also believe Duterte "has done well in terms of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country," the private pollster said.

Five percent of the respondents were on the fence while 3 percent found the President's action wanting, as the Philippines had imposed one of the world's strictest and longest lockdowns and the number of infections continued to rise.

Since the first coronavirus infection was reported in the country on Jan. 30, later followed by a patchwork of different measures to curb the spread of the virus, 97 percent of Filipinos were still concerned about catching the illness.

One percent of the respondents was impartial while 2 percent were not worried of contracting COVID-19, Pulse Asia said.

With the spread of the virus far from abating, most Filipinos took precautionary measures such as frequent handwashing (71 percent), wearing of face masks (55 percent) and observing physical distancing (33 percent).

Other respondents also reported staying at home (32 percent), avoiding crowded places (28 percent) taking vitamins (14 percent) and praying (14 percent).

As of Wednesday, the country has recorded 329,637 COVID-19 cases, putting it among the top 20 countries in the world with the highest levels of infection. It also has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian region.

The nationwide caseload includes 5,925 fatalities and 273,723 recoveries. Some 49,989 patients are still currently sick with the virus.

Pulse Asia said the poll, which was conducted using face-to-face interviews, had a ±2.8 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

The surveys were conducted while lawmakers were investigating the multibillion-peso corruption anomaly at the scandal-plagued Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth). 

Respondents were also asked when Duterte extended the country's state of calamity until September 2021, the public backlash against the P389-million beautification project in Manila Bay and deferment of class opening to Oct. 5, the pollster added.