Optimism among Filipinos over economic improvement in 2014 remains high based on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, but the results also show growing skepticism among the lower masses that the current metrics of growth reflect positive impact on their daily lives.
In terms of the quality of life, the SWS pointed out declines in points earned by the incumbent administration, notably from the economic classes D and E, or the masa.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s administration appreciates the SWS findings that optimism remained high at 30 percent from his first year in office in 2010 and in his third year as well.
Still, sociologist Nicole Curato of the University of the Philippines told SWS survey partner BusinessWorld that the results bolster “the increasing skepticism about how the Philippines’ GDP [gross domestic product]growth makes an impact on the everyday lives of many Filipinos.”
The December 2013 survey of the SWS showed that of 30 percent of the 1,550 adults surveyed nationwide believed the economy would be better in the next 12 months—the same as in December 2011.
However, those that said that it would be worse in the next 12 months rose to 21 percent in December 2013 compared with 16 percent in 2011.
The net optimism—those that said it would be better versus those that said otherwise—dropped from positive 14 percent in 2011 to -8 percent in 2013.
Compared with his predecessors, the highest level of net optimism was at 38 percent for Joseph Estrada in September 2000; 50 percent for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in May 2005, tapering to 39 percent at the end of her term in June 2010; and Aquino at 30 percent in November 2010, which is the same as December 2013.
The SWS mentioned the different crises faced by the country’s leaders that affected the level of confidence among Filipinos.
The late President Ferdinand Marcos had to deal with hyper-inflation; the late Cory Aquino with coup attempts; Fidel Ramos with the Gulf and currency crises; Estrada with oil price hikes, Mindanao crisis and the jueteng (illegal numbers game) gate; for Arroyo there was the spillover of the jueteng gate crisis, the Abu Sayyaf, the US-Iraq war, and the steep oil price hikes; and for Aquino’s three years in office, the rice and oil price hikes, the global economic crisis and, Super Typhoon Yolanda.
According to BusinessWorld, SWS’ partner in the survey, 41 percent of those surveyed claimed that their quality of life would likely improve in the next 12 months compared with 8 percent who said otherwise, for a net score of 33 percent.
Though net optimism remained “very high” since June 2011, an analyst told Business–World that the strong economic growth was not trickling down, even as Malacañang remained committed to pursuing reforms and development.
By socioeconomic class, optimism dropped to 9 percent for the masa and to 2 percent among the E class.
The Palace welcomed the fact that despite the challenges and difficulties brought by the recent calamities, people remained optimistic.
“We continue to work hard to implement socioeconomic development and reform programs to address their needs and expectations for a brighter future,” The BusinessWorld quoted Herminio Coloma, secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, was quoted as saying.