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Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on Social Media Use from the September 2018 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 September 1 – 7, 2018 using face-to-face interviews. In the weeks leading up to the fieldwork for this survey and during the actual conduct of the interviews, the following local and international developments dominated the headlines:

In the weeks leading up to and during the conduct of the field interviews for this nationwide survey, the following national and international developments dominated the headlines:

1. President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s issuance of Proclamation No. 572 on 04 September 2018 which declares as invalid from the beginning the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV under the previous administration because of his alleged failure to apply for amnesty and to admit his guilt in connection with the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny, February 2006 stand-off with the Philippine Marines, and the November 2007 Manila Peninsula incident;

2. The calls for the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) and the resignation of Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and NFA Administrator Jason Aquino amidst the shortage of rice in several areas in the country and the soaring prices of the commodity nationwide;

3. The filing of a graft complaint against NFA Administrator Aquino by the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikutura (Sinag) arising from the diversion of P 5.1B of the agency’s funds meant for the purchase of palay last year to pay off the NFA’s debts; Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles claims the NFA did the same thing this year which brings to a total of more than P 10B the amount of funds originally allocated for buying palay but which were instead used to service the agency’s debts in the past two (2) years;

4. The blasts that rocked Isulan, Sultan Kudarat on 28 August and 02 September 2018 which killed at least five (5) individuals and injured several others; these developments led Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to raise the possibility of extending martial law in Mindanao beyond the 31 December 2018 deadline; the military put the blame for the attacks on factions of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS);

5. The President’s official visits to Israel and Jordan from 02 to 08 September 2018, the first by an incumbent chief executive, during which he discussed such matters as combatting terrorism and transnational crimes, intensifying trade and investment, and protecting the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with his Israeli and Jordanian counterparts;

6. Another controversial remark by President Duterte which saw him dismissing the reported rise in rape cases in Davao City by attributing it to the presence of many beautiful women in the area; amidst the backlash against the President, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque once again called on the public not to take President Duterte’s words seriously;

7. The approval on second reading by the House of Representatives on 04 September 2018 of the second package of the Duterte administration’s tax reform program called the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) despite objections from various business sectors and some congressional representatives belonging to the minority; TRABAHO seeks to reduce corporate income tax from 30% to 20% by 2029 while at the same time removing various incentives presently enjoyed by investors and the business sector;

8. The debate concerning the projected cost that would be incurred by the Philippine government as a result of the proposed shift to federalism with the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) putting it at P 13.29B, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) saying it would be between P 44B to P72 B, and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimating it to be between P 131B to P 253B; Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia have publicly questioned the economic and budgetary aspects of the federal constitution drafted by the Con-Com;

9. The finding by the House Committee on Justice that the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Teresita de Castro and six (6) other SC justices is sufficient in form; the complainants argue that the SC justices violated by 1987 Philippine Constitution when they removed former SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno from office via the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG); SC Chief Justice de Castro took her oath of office on 28 August 2018 after being appointed by the President to replace former SC Chief Justice Sereno;

10. The claims made by President Duterte that Naga City, the hometown of Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, is a hotbed of shabu and that it was the Vice-President’s own brother-in-law who brought drugs to Naga City; Vice-President Robredo and the local government of Naga City have denied these allegations, with the Naga City Council even passing a resolution expressing its indignation over the President’s remarks referring to these as “irresponsible” and “without factual basis”; in a related development, President Duterte against questioned the Vice-President’s capability to lead the country, saying that should he resign, the Philippines would be better off with a leader like former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. or Senator Francis Escudero rather than Vice-President Robredo, his constitutional successor;

11. The forced closure of the main runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from 16 to 18 August 2018 as a result of a Xiamen Airlines plane overshooting the runway; this led to the cancellation or diversion of flights, with thousands of passengers being stranded at the airport; a fine of at least P 33M was levied against Xiamen Airlines while several local and international airlines were also meted a fine of P 5,000 per passengers for 37 uncoordinated flights which they undertook to hasten the transport of stranded passengers immediately after the removal of the Xiamen Airlines plane from the runway;

12. The alliance formed by Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party formed and led by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, with three (3) national parties (i.e., Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, and National Unity Party) and six (6) regional parties; the party-members have pledged their support for the senatorial candidates that would be fielded by the supercoalition in next year’s midterm elections;

13. The filing before the International Criminal Court (ICC) of a second complaint against President Duterte accusing him of murder and crimes against humanity in connection with his campaign against anti-illegal drugs, a move dismissed by Malacañang as simply a communication because it has not been acted upon by the ICC;

14. The assertion made by Mr. Ben Tulfo before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on 14 August 2018 that his company, Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (BMUI), did nothing illegal when it entered, through PTV-4, into a multimillion advertisement contract with the Department of Tourism (DOT) when the latter was still headed by his sister, then DOT Secretary Wanda Teo; DOT Sec. Teo said there was no conflict of interest in the contract because it involved the DOT and PTV-4 and not BMUI;

15. The resolution promulgated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on 05 September 2018 which sets the threshold for the oval shading at 25% for the May 2019 elections in order to prevent the disenfranchisements of voters;

16. The holding of the Asian Games in Indonesia from 18 August to 02 September 2019 where the Philippines finished in 19th place out of 45 countries with a total haul of 4 gold, 2 silver, and 15 bronze medals; and

17. In economic and financial news, the announcement made by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that inflation hit 6.4% in August 2018 – the highest in nine (9) years and higher than the 5.9% forecasted by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP); the depreciation of the local currency vis-à-vis the American dollar and the decline of the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) as a result of investors’ concerns regarding inflation and trade involving the US, China, and Canada; and the drop in the business confidence index from 39.30% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 to 30.1% in the 3rd quarter which is attributed by the BSP to the increasing prices of basic commodities both globally and locally.

As in our previous Ulat ng Bayan surveys, this nationwide survey is based on a sample of 1,800 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 2.3% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95% confidence level: ± 6.5% for Metro Manila, ± 3.5% for the rest of Luzon, ± 5.2% for Visayas and ± 4.7% for Mindanao. 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 via Viber or Telegram at +639189335497 or at ronald.holmes@gmail.com (via email.).

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Nearly half of Filipinos (47%) use the internet, with nearly all of them using their mobile phones to access the internet (94%) and accessing the internet for purposes of checking their social media accounts (98%)

While 47% of Filipino report using or accessing the internet, the rest (53%) do not. Use of the internet is reported by majorities only in Metro Manila (65%) and the best-off Class ABC (66%). On the other hand, only about a third of those in the Visayas and the poorest Class E use the internet (35% and 32%, respectively). Back in June 2017, a smaller percentage of Filipinos (37%) reported accessing the internet and, again, the only majority usage is recorded in Metro Manila and Class ABC (55% and 61%, respectively). (Please refer to Table 1.)

Among those who access the internet, practically each one of them (94%) uses mobile phones to do so. Similar figures are recorded across geographic areas and socio-economic classes (91% to 95% and 84% to 97%, respectively). On the other hand, 13% access the internet via computers at internet cafes, 11% do so on their home computers or laptops, 8% make use of tablets, and 2% connect to the internet using their office computer or laptop. In June 2017, a slightly smaller percentage of internet users accessed the web through mobile phones (89%) while bigger percentages reported using internet cafes (23%) and home computers or laptops (20%).

Practically all Filipinos who access the internet do so to check on their social media accounts (98%). The same is reported by virtually every Filipino across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (95% to 100% and 95% to 99%, respectively). Meanwhile, 39% of those who use the internet surf the web to read, watch, and/or listen to other things of interest to them. Reading, watching, and/or listening to the news is an activity reported by 29% of Filipinos who use the internet while 20% do so to send, receive, and/or read emails. Presently, smaller percentages of those who access the internet do so to either update themselves with current events or to send, receive, and/or read emails (29% and 20%, respectively) compared to June 2017 (35% and 26%, respectively).

As regards the frequency of their internet use, 44% access the web more than once a day and 20% do so either once a day or 2-6 times per week. The rest of Filipinos who use the internet access it either once a week or less than once a week (both at 8%). Most Metro Manilans (67%), Visayans (54%), and those in Class ABC (69%) access the web more than once on a daily basis. The same is reported by big pluralities in the rest of Luzon (44%), Class D (41%), and Class E (46%). In Mindanao, 40% of those who access the web do so 2-6 times weekly. Compared to June 2017, a slightly lower percentage of those who use the internet now report doing so more than once daily (49% versus 44%) while a bigger percentage of them say they use the internet once a day (20% versus 15%). (Please refer to Table 2.)

Essentially every Filipino who uses the internet to check their social media accounts has a Facebook account (100%). The same is reported by virtually all Filipinos in each geographic area and socio-economic class (100% and 98% to 100%, respectively). The other social media accounts owned by those who access the web for such are Instagram (17%), Twitter (11%), LinkedIn (3%), and Pinterest (2%). Nearly the same figures are recorded in June 2017. (Please refer to Table 3.)

Public opinion on the matter of whether or not social media affects one’s political views is split nearly evenly (51% versus 49%)

According to a bare majority of Filipinos who use the internet to access their social media accounts (51%), they have changed their views concerning politics and government at least once because of something they had seen, read, and/or listened to over the internet. The same is admitted by majorities in the rest of Luzon (52%), the Visayas (71%), Class ABC (57%), and Class E (60%). On the other hand, 49% of those accessing the web to check their social media account report otherwise. In June 2017, most Filipinos using the internet to access their social media accounts say they have never changed their political views as a result of something they encountered on the web. This was the prevailing sentiment in practically all geographic areas and socio-economic classes at that time (63% to 66% and 61% to 65%, respectively), with Mindanao being the exception (46%). (Please refer to Table 4.)

A large majority of Filipinos who access social media accounts through the internet (88%) are aware of fake news on social media, with most of them (79%) saying they consider fake news to be widespread on social media

Awareness of fake news on social media is reported by majorities of those who access social media accounts through the internet, not only at the national level (88%) but across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings as well (84% to 93% and 75% to 96%, respectively). A lower level of awareness is posted in June 2017, with 74% of those who use the internet to check their social media accounts saying they have read, heard, or watched at least one (1) piece of fake news on social media. During this period, awareness levels also go up in Metro Manila (+29 percentage points), the rest of Luzon (+15 percentage points), the Visayas (+17 percentage points), Class ABC (+20 percentage points), and Class D (+15 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 5.)

 Most Filipinos aware of fake news on social media say such news is widespread on social media (79%). Majority agreement figures are registered in each geographic area and socio-economic class (78% to 80% and 78% to 81%, respectively). In contrast, disagreement is expressed by 9% of those aware of fake news on social media while 12% are ambivalent on the matter. Between June 2017 and September 2018, agreement with the view that fake news is widespread on social media becomes more pronounced at the national level (+20 percentage points) as well as in the rest of Luzon (+15 percentage points), the Visayas (+55 percentage points), Mindanao (+23 percentage points), Class ABC (+19 percentage points), Class D (+21 percentage points), and Class E (+18 percentage points). Additionally, indecision on the matter eases at this time (-8 percentage points) while disagreement becomes less marked (-12 percentage points). Across geographic areas and socio-economic classes, the level of ambivalence declines in the Visayas (-20 percentage points) while disagreement becomes less pronounced among Visayans (-35 percentage points), Mindanawons (-17 percentage points), and those in Class D (-14 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 5.)