SWS: More Filipinos optimistic quality of life, economy will improve in next 12 months

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MORE Filipinos are optimistic that the quality of their lives and the economy will improve in the next 12 months, the latest survey of the Social Weather Station (SWS) showed.

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The survey among 1,200 respondents from June 23 to 26 revealed that 44 percent (optimistic) of Filipinos expect the quality of their lives to get better in the next 12 months while only 4 percent (pessimistic) said it would be worse.

This yielded a net personal optimism score of +40, classified by SWS as “excellent.”

The latest optimism score was one grade up and four points more than the “very high” +36 (43 percent optimists, 6 percent pessimists) logged in the preceding quarter.

SWS noted that net personal optimism had been “excellent” for five consecutive quarters before the March 2017 survey.

The same survey also showed that 39 percent of the respondents said they were optimistic that the economy would get better in the next 12 months, while only 12 percent disagreed.

The result yielded a net optimism score of “excellent” +27 that was nevertheless 11 points less than the first quarter’s “excellent” +38 and was the lowest since June 2015’s “very high” +15.

When asked how their lives have changed in the past 12 months, 37 percent of the respondents said it has improved (gainers), while 19 percent of them said it has worsened (losers).

This yielded a “very high” +17 net gainers score that, SWS said, was “similar to March’s +16 and just two points less than the record-high +19 in September 2016.

First published by BusinessWorld on Wednesday, the SWS survey has sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages, ±4 for “Balance Luzon,” as well as ±6 each for Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.

More needs to be done

Meanwhile, Malacañang welcomed the latest SWS findings but said more work needed to be done despite the programs instituted by the Duterte administration for the people.

“We have made significant strides in the first year to ensure the inclusion of the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors, which form part of our objective to reduce overall poverty rate from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 14 percent by 2022, as per our Philippine Development Plan,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella was referring to government’s programs which include free medicine to indigents, free education to public school college students, free irrigation to farmers, free public internet access, higher pension for seniors, increased combat duty pay and combat incentive pay for soldiers and policemen, additional rice subsidy for conditional cash transfer recipients, microfinancing system, higher employment compensation funeral benefits, and strengthening of the anti-hospital deposit law.

“However, much more needs to be done, such as implementing institutional changes,” Abella said.

He noted that the government has certified as urgent a comprehensive tax reform package to boost the economy and accelerate infrastructure development while raising spending for the poor.

“This would lay down a strong foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth to enable our people to achieve their aspiration of a ‘matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay,'” Abella added.

(. . .strong, comfortable and peaceful life)

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