The rising prices of basic goods and inflation as well as the country’s economic performance are the top important issues for Filipinos that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. must address, a third quarter survey by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. showed.
Prices/inflation and economy were tied at the top spot with 18 percent each, followed by corruption (13 percent), poverty (9 percent), jobs(8 percent), education (7 percent) and agriculture (6 percent).
PUBLiCUS said the economic concerns were closely related to the fundamental fears of households heading into the last quarter of 2023.
“These fears include the inability to afford basic necessities andcommodities, difficulties in finding employment, concerns about being underpaid, and the looming possibility of unemployment. These economic and livelihood concerns are at the forefront of Filipino citizens’ minds,” it said.
Economic managers downplayed the outcome of the survey, which showed that economic headwinds hurt the ratings of the Marcos Jr. administration and the Cabinet, saying the economy is facing “a rosy outlook” going forward.
In a joint statement signed by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and BudgetSecretary Amenah Pangandaman, the economic team said they are confident in the President, who continues to have “one of the highest trust and approval ratings in the world.”
“As surveys are primarily based on perceptions, not facts, let it be clear that on GDP growth, the Philippines’ real GDP growth of 5.3 percent in the first semester of 2023 in fact proved to be highest among emerging markets in the ASEAN-6, beating Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand,” they said.
“It was also the third fastest growing economy among Asian countries with available GDP data, following only India, which was first with a real GDP growth of 6.9 percent for the first half of the year, and China at 5.5 percent,” the secretaries said.
The country’s businessmen are also not bothered by the 7-percent drop in the President’s approval and trust ratings, which they say are not reflective of Mr. Marcos’ efforts to govern and protect the country.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president George Barcelon said the survey must have mirrored the general sentiments of the people, particularly since several challenges continue to affect the economy.
“We still have challenges on the agriculture sector. Prices of produce are still high, which is a big issue for them,” he said.
Filipinos are still waiting for the President the make good on his promise to keep prices of food at competitive levels, Barcelon added.
PUBLiCUS said there has been a notable decrease in the overall positive perception of the Philippines’ current state, its future direction, and its financial prospects, marking the “first significant decline” since the first quarter of 2022.
“This shift across various regions and demographic groups, especially in terms of a more pessimistic outlook on the national economy moving into the fourth quarter of 2023.
Economic difficulties, such as the 4.3 percent slower economic growth and rising oil and commodity prices, have likewise adversely affected national leaders’ approval and trust ratings, notably President Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte.
The survey showed significant drops in the approval rating of Mr. Marcos, with a decrease from 62 percrent in the second quarter to 55 percent the third quarter, and a trust rating decline from 54 percent to 47 percent in the same period.
Duterte also experienced a decline in approval, dropping from 67 percent in Q2 to 62 percent in Q3, with her trust rating decreased from 61 percent to 55 percent during the same time frame.
Other top national leaders have also been adversely affected in terms of their approval and trust ratings. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s approval rating dropped from 48 percent in Q2 to 43 percent in Q3, while his trust rating declined from 37 percent to 33 percent.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez saw a decrease in his approval rating from 42 percent in Q2 to 37 percent in Q3, along with a trust rating drop from 32 percent to 29 percent.
Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo’s approval rating also went down from 38 percent in Q2 to 36 percent in Q3, and his trust rating also decreased from 32 percent to 29 percent.
The overall approval rating of all Cabinet members also experienced a significant decline, dropping from 60 percent in Q2 to 53 percent in Q3.
“This decline in PBBM’s approval rating extends to his Cabinet members and is notably driven by South Luzon, where it has decreased from 54 percent to 45 percent, as well as in Visayas, where it has fallen from 65 percent to 53 percent. The other regions have also made slight contributions to this downward trend,” PUBLiCUS said.
The Cabinet members with the highest approval ratings are Duterte in her role as Education Secretary with 52 percent, Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro with 46 percent, President Marcos as Agriculture Secretary with 46 percent, the late Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople with 45 percent, and Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian with 43 percent.
The PAHAYAG 2023 Third Quarter Survey is an independent and non- commissioned survey conducted by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. between 7-12 September 2023. It is a nationwide purposive survey with 1,500 respondents randomly drawn from a market research panel of over 200,000 Filipinos maintained by PureSpectrum, a US-based panel marketplace with a multinational presence.