Economic issues, not crime and corruption, are the top concerns of Filipinos, according to the latest survey of major pollster Pulse Asia.
A survey conducted from March 15 to 20, 2017 showed that pay hike was the “leading urgent national concern” for Filipinos at 43 percent.
Second was controlling inflation at 41 percent and third was job creation, 39 percent.
Fighting corruption and crime, the government’s priority, came fourth and fifth, at 31 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
“Economic issues top the list of Filipinos’ urgent national concerns; public opinion on the matter remain essentially unchanged during the period December 2016 to March 2017,” Pulse Asia said in its “Ulat ng Bayan” survey report.
“For the most part, Filipinos’ sense of urgency as far as these national issues are concerned remains steady between December 2016 and March 2017. The only exceptions are the higher levels of concerns expressed by Filipinos about inflation and job creation in March 2017 (41 percent and 39 percent, respectively) compared to the previous quarter (34 percent and 31 percent, respectively),” it added.
Other national concerns included in the survey were promoting peace (18 percent), enforcing the rule of law (16 percent), protecting the environment (15 percent), controlling rapid population growth (11 percent), reducing the amount of taxes paid by citizens (11 percent), protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) (eight percent), and defending national territorial integrity (six percent).
Filipinos are least concerned about terrorism and Charter change, the survey showed.
Ernesto Abella, the President’s spokesman, said the people’s concerns are among the priorities of the government as highlighted in the 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the President, embodied in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, “to equalize opportunities for human development.”
“The President is particularly concerned for the poor, excluded and underserved. To ensure that regionally and locally the economies serve the interests of the many and not just the few, the Administration is increasing spending on infrastructure and social welfare protection, improving ease of doing business and creating more jobs,” Abella said.
“The survey coincides with [Duterte]’s priorities of serving the nation’s interests which have been long neglected,” the Palace official added.
The same survey also showed that the Duterte administration got majority approval ratings on most of the issues, except for an eight-percentage point drop in the level of approval for its efforts to defend national territorial integrity.
The administration got high approval scores in its fight against criminality (79 percent) responding to calamities (77 percent), protecting OFWs (71 percent), fighting corruption (70 percent), promoting peace (69 percent), protecting the environment (68 percent), enforcing the rule of law (68 percent), creating jobs (58 percent), defending the national territory from foreigners (57 percent), and increasing workers’ pay (55 percent).
“It is only in the areas of reducing poverty and controlling inflation where the current dispensation fails to obtain majority approval figures as it scores approval ratings of 50 percent and 45 percent, respectively. It may be noted that inflation is one of the leading urgent national concerns of Filipinos in March 2017 (41 percent),” Pulse Asia said.
“Conversely, Filipinos are most critical of the administration’s initiatives to control inflation (22 percent) and least inclined to disapprove of its disaster response efforts (3 percent),” it added.
The quarterly survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level.