Filipinos' top priorities in 2021: Staying healthy, avoiding illness and being well-paid


Posted at Mar 25 2021 04:47 AM

Filipinos' top priorities in 2021: Staying healthy, avoiding illness and being well-paid 1
People visit stalls in Divisoria in Manila on March 20, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, most Filipinos are concerned with staying healthy and avoiding getting sick while being securely employed and getting well-paid, a survey by independent researchers showed.

The OCTA research group said in a report Wednesday that they conducted a "Tugon ng Masa (TNM) National Survey" all over the country from January 26 to February 1, 2021. The researchers said they interviewed 1,200 individuals, who are aged 18 and above.

"The survey utilizes a sampling design that allows for a 95% confidence level with a ±3% margin of error," the group said.

According to OCTA, staying health while avoiding illness is the top priority concern of Filipinos nationwide at 65%, especially in NCR and Balanced Luzon where 68% and 69% of interviewees, respectively, concurred. At least 66% of Mindanao respondents also agreed with their fellow interviewees, while only 50% of those in Visayas concurred.

"This is also the top concern for adult Filipinos belonging in class ABC (77%) as compared to class D (64%) and class E (62%)," the group said.

Having a secure and well-paying job or source of income is the 2nd urgent personal concern nationwide at 56%, especially in the Visayas where 61% concurred its the top priority for Filipinos. Fifty-seven percent and 59% respondents in NCR and Balanced Luzon respectively agreed with it being a top concern, while 47% of respondents in Mindanao concurred.

"In terms of socio-economic class (SEC), percentages are quite close (ABC at 60%, D and E both at 56%) but still high for class ABC," OCTA said.

Avoiding being a victim of a serious crime came 3rd at 47% nationwide. Data from OCTA's survey showed that 50% and 55% of respondents in NCR and Balanced Luzon, respectively, regarded it as one of the top 3 concerns.

"This concern has a relatively high percentage in Class ABC (55%) and Class D (50%)," the group said.

Finishing school or providing education for children followed with 45% of respondents nationwide regarding it as a priority concern, with the highest responses coming from those in Mindanao (53%) and the Visayas (48%).

"This concern has also slightly higher percentages in Class D (45%) and E (45%) compared to Filipinos in Class ABC (37%)," OCTA said.

Eating enough daily came next 5th at the national level with 37%, with higher responses from respondents in the Visayas (45%) and Mindanao (40%). 

"In terms of SEC, the highest percentage can be observed in Class E (45%)," OCTA said.

Owning a house and lot (26%) and saving up (23%) came up 6th and 7th nationwide, respectively.


According to OCTA, Filipinos regarded increasing or improving worker's salaries as the top issue for the Duterte administration to address amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The group's survey showed that 47% of respondents nationwide concurred on it being the priority concern for government, with the highest responses coming from Balanced Luzon (50%).

"Improving/increasing wages or salaries of workers is consistently cited as the most urgent national concern that the current administration must act on immediately across class ABC, D and E (45%, 46%, and 49%, respectively)," the group said.

The government providing access to affordable food came 2nd at the national level (39%), with the highest responses coming from Balanced Luzon (46%). 

Surprisingly, containing the COVID-19 spread in the Philippines came only 3rd nationwide (38%) despite the circumstances. The highest responses came from NCR and Balanced Luzon (both 42%), areas which have been severely hit by the deadly disease.

"Controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus and access to affordable food like rice, vegetables, and meat are either second or third in the rankings across the socio-economic class (43% and 38%, respectively for class ABC; 39% and 37%, respectively for class D; and (34% and 47%, respectively, for class E)," OCTA said.

Regulating price increases of basic goods and services came 4th at 32%.

"Meanwhile, controlling the increase in prices of basic goods are at the fourth spot for all socio-economic classes (27% for class ABC, 33% for class D and 32% for class E)," OCTA said.

At least a quarter or 25% of the respondents nationwide also agreed that government should provide free education, while 22% concurred the current administration should also reduce the country's poverty rate and create more jobs.

"Rounding up the top five most urgent national concerns for the socio-economic classes are creating more jobs for class ABC (24%), providing quality education for class D (27%), and reducing the poverty of many Filipinos for class E (30%)," OCTA said. 

Other issues were also brought by respondents for the Duterte administration to address, such as fighting graft and corruption in government (18%), promoting peace and order in the country and fighting criminality (11%), reducing amount of taxes paid by Filipinos (9%), enforcing law fairly among influential and ordinary people (7%), safeguarding the welfare of OFWs (5%), stopping the destruction and abuses against environment (5%), controlling fast population growth (3%), defending integrity of Philippine territory against foreigners (3%), preparing to successfully face any kind of terrorist threat (3%), and changing the Constitution (1%).

The OCTA group is composed of professors from the University of the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas, and Providence College in the United States.

Last December, a survey showed 91 percent of respondents nationwide were optimistic for 2021, while 8 percent were "ambivalent," and 1 percent said they would face the year without hope.

According to Pulse Asia, the sentiment was most popular in Balance Luzon (93 percent), followed by Visayas (92 percent), Metro Manila (91 percent), and Mindanao (87 percent).


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