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Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on the Performance and Trust Ratings of the Top Philippine Government Officials and Key Government Institutions from the December 2017 Ulat ng Bayan national survey. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from December 10 – 15, 17, 2017 using face-to-face interviews.

Among the news developments which preoccupied Filipinos in the weeks prior to and during the conduct of the survey interviews are:

1. The ratification by Congress of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill which seeks to raise more revenues for the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program, among others, and its approval of the P 3.7 T national budget for 2018;

2. The approval by Congress of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s request to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao for a year or until 31 December 2018;

3. The hearings being conducted by the House Committee on Justice on the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno; the House Committee’s decision to disallow the latter’s lawyers to appear on her behalf at the hearings; the challenge made by House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez for the Supreme Court Chief Justice to personally defend her case before the House Committee; the latter’s continued refusal to attend the hearings and her rejection of calls for her to resign; the testimonies of several of the Supreme Court Chief Justice’s colleagues against her before the House Committee on Justice;

4. The suspension of the Department of Health’s (DOH) dengue immunization program following the admission of Sanofi, the manufacturer of the Dengvaxia vaccine, that it would have severe or even fatal effects on those who have no prior dengue virus infection; the Senate investigation into the matter in the course of which former President Benigno S. Aquino III appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon and Health Committees on 14 December 2017 to defend his administration’s decision to use the Dengvaxia vaccine;

5. The return of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Duterte administration, with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) remaining as the lead agency; President Duterte’s remarks that his “war on drugs” will last until his term ends in June 2022; the resignation of Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairperson Dionisio Santiago, following his public criticism of the construction of a 10,000-bed drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija by the Duterte administration;

6. The dismissal by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the drug charges against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and several other BOC officials arising from the smuggling of P 6.4 B worth of shabu in May 2017, a move that was criticized and deemed as premature by some senators;

7. President Duterte’s issuance of a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations, this following the cancellation of peace negotiations between these groups and the Philippines government; the President’s order for the military and police to shoot any armed NPA member on sight;

8. The call for a revolutionary government made by supporters of President Duterte to allow him to efficiently address key problems in the country and to hasten the shift to a federal form of government, a proposal deemed unconstitutional by the President’s critics; Malacañang clarified that President Duterte will establish a revolutionary government only if the country is on the verge of collapse;

9. The launching of the Manananggol Laban sa Extrajudicial Killings (Manlaban sa EJK), an alliance of legal professionals and law students critical of the human rights violations in the implementation of the administration’s “war on drugs” and the Catholic Church’s “Heal Our Land” campaign which seeks an end to the killings in connection with the ongoing anti-illegal drugs campaign in the country;

10. The Sandiganbayan’s decision finding probable cause to try former President Benigno S. Aquino III for his role in Oplan Exodus which resulted in the death of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on 25 January 2015;

11. The filing of plunder raps against former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretaries Joseph Emilio A. Abaya and Manuel A. Roxas II, former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio B. Abad, and several other officials under the Aquino administration in connection with the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 maintenance system contract;

12. Changes in the Duterte administration including the resignation of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez’s resignation amidst the problems that continue to plague the operations of the MRT 3 system, the appointment of Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Sheriff Abas as the commission’s new chairperson and of former DOJ Secretary Agnes Devanadera as head of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and the sacking of all five (5) commissioners of the President Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) due to the excessive number of trips taken by its members and their failure to hold meetings; the extension of the terms of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Rey Leonardo Guerrero and of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief of Staff Ronald dela Rosa until April 2018;

13. President Duterte’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vietnam and the Philippines’ hosting of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in November 2017;

14. In economic and financial news, the entry of China Telcom as a third player in the Philippine telecommunications industry; the improvement in the Philippines’ credit rating by Fitch Ratings from “BBB-“ to “BBB”, a first since March 2013; the fluctuations in the prices of petroleum products which went up in November 2017 due to the supply cuts by major exporters but declined the following month to reflect changes in global oil prices; and the release of economic figures for the third quarter of 2017 which show the Philippine economy growing by 6.9%, an improvement attributed to sustained strong export growth and better public spending.

As in our previous Ulat ng Bayan surveys, this nationwide 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.  Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (i.e., Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. Those interested in further technical details may refer to our website (www.pulseasia.ph)

Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes.  Pulse Asia Research undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.

For any clarification or questions, kindly contact Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, Research Director of Pulse Asia Research at 09189436816 or Ronald D. Holmes, Pulse Asia Research President at 09189335497 (via mobile, Viber or Telegram) or at ronald.holmes@gmail.com (via email.)

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Three (3) of the leading government officials of the country continue to enjoy majority approval and trust ratings at the national level

Most Filipinos remain appreciative of the work done by President Rodrigo R. Duterte (80%), Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo (59%), and Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III (57%) in the last quarter of 2017. Similarly, these key officials are trusted by most of their constituents – President Duterte (82%), Vice-President Robredo (58%), and Senate President Pimentel (53%). (Please refer to Tables 1 to 2.)

On the other hand, House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez has almost the same approval and indecision ratings (42% versus 37%) as well as trust and indecision scores (37% versus 43%). In the case of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno, ambivalence is the plurality sentiment toward her performance (40%) while practically the same percentages of Filipinos either distrust her or express indecision on the matter of trusting or distrusting her (33% versus 38%).

Among the top Philippine government officials, it is Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno who obtains the highest disapproval and distrust ratings (26% and 33%, respectively). In contrast, Filipinos are least inclined to disapprove of and distrust President Duterte (7% and 6%, respectively).

Across geographic areas and socio-economic classes, it is only President Duterte who succeeds in scoring majority approval ratings (72% to 93% and 77% to 85%, respectively) and trust figures (74% to 94% and 78% to 85%, respectively). Senate President Pimentel has majority approval ratings in all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (53% to 61% and 56% to 59%, respectively). However, in terms of his trust ratings, the Senate President enjoys majority figures in virtually all areas (54% to 57%) and every socio-economic class (53% to 56%) but fails to gain the trust of most Visayans (47%). (Please refer to Tables 3 and 4.)

Vice-President Robredo posts majority approval and trust scores in nearly each geographic area (59% to 68% and 55% to 65%, respectively) and socio-economic grouping (58% to 64% and 58% to 63%, respectively). The exceptions are Metro Manilans and those in the best-off Class ABC who continue to withhold majority approval and trust ratings from the Vice-President (both 46% in Metro Manila and both 48% in Class ABC).

The only majority score obtained by House Speaker Alvarez is his 53% approval rating in Mindanao. The latter registers basically the same approval and indecision ratings in the other areas (37% to 41% versus 34% to 40%) and all classes (40% to 47% versus 34% to 38%). With respect to House Speaker Alvarez’s trustworthiness, indecision is the plurality sentiment in Class D (43%) while essentially the same trust and indecision levels are recorded across geographic areas (34% to 42% versus 39% to 47%) and in Classes ABC and E (40% to 43% versus 34% to 46%).

As for Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno, public opinion concerning her work and trustworthiness is split three-ways in Class ABC (30%, 38%, and 30% performance ratings and 28%, 33%, and 38% trust ratings). Visayans and Mindanaoans are also equally divided in their assessment of the latter’s trustworthiness (31%, 39%, and 29% in the Visayas and 32%, 35%, and 28% in Mindanao) while those in the rest of Luzon are split relatively evenly as regards her performance (29%, 39%, and 29%, respectively). In Metro Manila, the Supreme Court Chief Justice posts around the same disapproval and indecision ratings (33% versus 40%) as well as distrust and indecision scores (37% versus 40%).

In addition, Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno registers nearly or exactly the same approval and indecision figures in the Visayas (33% versus 43%), Mindanao (both at 37%), and Class E (33% versus 43%). Ambivalence is the plurality opinion toward the latter’s work in Class D (38%). With respect to her trustworthiness, practically the same percentages in the rest of Luzon and Class D say either that they distrust Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno (36% and 34%, respectively) or that they are undecided on the matter (38% and 37%, respectively). A big plurality in Class E (41%) cannot say if they trust or distrust the latter.

Only House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno experience notable changes in their performance and trust ratings between September and December 2017

Approval for the House Speaker’s quarterly performance becomes more pronounced at the national level during this period (+9 percentage points). Similar movements occur in the rest of Luzon (+12 percentage points), Class D (+8 percentage points), and Class E (+12 percentage points). Also, ambivalence toward the lawmaker’s work eases not only at the national level (-10 percentage points) but also in Class D (-10 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 5.)

In the case of Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno, disapproval for her performance becomes more pronounced in Metro Manila (+14 percentage points). With regard to the latter’s trust ratings, the only marked movement is the decline in Metro Manila (-13 percentage points). Indecision on the matter of trusting or distrusting the Supreme Court Chief Justice becomes less manifest in Mindanao (-13 percentage points). As for the latter’s distrust scores, they go up in the Philippines as a whole (+10 percentage points) and in Metro Manila (+18 percentage points), Class ABC (+19 percentage points), and Class D (+10 percentage points). (Please refer to Tables 5 and 6.)

Of the three (3) key institutions of government, only the Senate registers majority approval and trust scores in December 2017; public assessment of the performance and trustworthiness of these institutions are essentially constant during the period September to December 2017

Small majority approval and trust ratings are obtained by the Senate in December 2017 (55% and 56%, respectively). Approval for and trust in the House of Representatives are expressed by a near majority of Filipinos (50% and 49%, respectively). Meanwhile, almost half of Filipinos (48%) have a positive opinion about the Supreme Court’s work but around the same percentages either trust it or are ambivalent toward its trustworthiness (45% versus 39%). These institutions’ disapproval scores vary only from 10% for the Senate to 15% for the Supreme Court while levels of distrust range from 8% for the Senate to 16% for the Supreme Court. (Please refer to Tables 7 and 8.)

The Senate enjoys majority trust ratings in each geographic area and socio-economic class (52% to 60% and 51% to 57%, respectively) while it records majority approval figures in most areas and all classes (51% to 60% and 54% to 55%, respectively). Metro Manila is the exception (50%).

Appreciation for the performance of the Lower House is the predominant sentiment in Mindanao (57%) and Class E (53%). Half of those in the Visayas and Class D (50%) also approve of the latter’s work. On the other hand, practically the same percentages of those in Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, and Class ABC are either appreciative of the performance of the House of Representatives (41% to 49%) or ambivalent on the matter (38% to 41%). (Please refer to Table 7.)

A little over half of those in the Visayas (53%) and Class E (54%) trust the House of Representatives while half of those in Mindanao (50%) express the same sentiment toward the legislative chamber. On the other hand, basically the same percentages of those in Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Class ABC, and Class D either trust the Lower House (42% to 49%) or are unable to say whether they trust or distrust it (40% to 45%).  (Please refer to Table 8.)

Most Mindanaoans (57%) have a positive assessment of the Supreme Court’s work while near majority approval ratings are recorded in Classes D and E (48% and 50%, respectively). About the same approval and indecision ratings are obtained by the Supreme Court in Metro Manila (36% versus 42%), the rest of Luzon (47% versus 36%), and the Visayas (49% versus 40%) but public opinion concerning its work is split three-ways in Class ABC (39%, 35%, and 25%, respectively). (Please refer to Table 7.)

 For the Supreme Court, its only majority trust score is extended by Visayans (53%). The latter posts nearly the same trust and indecision figures in Metro Manila (36% versus 43%), the rest of Luzon (43% versus 39%), Mindanao (48% versus 37%), Class D (45% versus 38%), and Class E (46% versus 42%). Those in Class ABC are split essentially evenly, with 39% trusting the Supreme Court, 35% being ambivalent on the matter, and 26% expressing distrust in the judicial body. (Please refer to Table 8.)

 There are few changes in the performance and trust ratings of these government institutions between September and December 2017. Approval for the work done by the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court becomes more notable in the rest of Luzon (both at +12 percentage points). However, the latter experiences a decline in its approval score in the Visayas (-16 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 9.)

 The House of Representatives experiences an improvement in its trust ratings at the national level (+7 percentage points) and in the rest of Luzon (+12 percentage points). With regard to the Senate, its trust rating goes up in Metro Manila (+13 percentage points) while its indecision rating drops in the same area (-12 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 10.)