Worse off

"There are tangible indicators that measure if life indeed got better or worse."


Fifty-seven percent of adult Filipinos say their quality of life is worse this year than it was 12 months before, according to a Social Weather Stations survey held between Sept. 12 and 16 this year.

Some 13 percent of the 1,200 respondents said their lives got better while 29 percent said it was just about the same.

This brought the level of net gainers (those who said their lives improved, less those who said their lives got worse) to -44 percent, which falls under the bracket “extremely low” as classified by the SWS.

The latest survey also revealed that the quality of life is perceived most negatively by those in the National Capital Region (-51 percent), but felt relatively less acutely by college graduates (-26 percent) across the country. Those who had “some high school” education felt hardship the most, with -50 percent in net gainers.

The net score across the country has in fact gotten worse: It was -31% (very low) in June 2021 and -38% (very low) in May.

It is easy to attribute people’s perception of their quality of life to the pandemic. After all, net gainers were at +18 percent in December 2019, the last survey taken prior to the onset of COVID-19 here.

In May 2020, however, two months after the imposition of lockdowns, net gainers were at -78 percent (catastrophic). Succeeding quality-of-life surveys in July 2020 and September 2020 remained ugly: -72 percent and -76 percent, respectively.

It is also notable that these net gainers scores during the Duterte regime were at their lowest across all administrations since the surveys were first taken in April 1983 — certainly the negative high seventies experienced last year were unprecedented.

The numbers scream desperation and dissatisfaction during this health and economic crisis. These numbers will also play an important role in how Filipinos choose their leaders in the next elections.

Candidates will always claim that they are the answer to people’s hardships and that they can improve people’s quality of life. The campaign period becomes a contest of who speaks most dramatically, makes promises most beguilingly, and portrays themselves as saviors most convincingly.

Quality of life, however, ultimately transcends feelings and perception. There are tangible indicators that measure if life indeed got better or worse.

Pandemic or not, Filipinos need to hold their candidates to a higher standard, and vote only those who, because of track record and experience, can actually deliver a better quality of life — instead of the just the promise of it.

Topics: Editorial , Worse off , Filipinos , quality of life , Social Weather Stations survey , SWS
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