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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 the Performance Ratings of Key Government Institutions 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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Three (3) of the Philippines’ leading government officials obtain majority approval and trust ratings in September 2018

Majority approval scores are granted by Filipinos to President Rodrigo R. Duterte (75%), Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo (61%), and Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III (73%). Nearly the same approval and indecision figures are posted by Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio (42% versus 40%). Numerically speaking, the lowest disapproval rating is obtained by Senate President Sotto (6%) while the highest one is registered by Vice-President Robredo (17%). Levels of ambivalence toward these officials’ performance range from 15% for President Duterte to 40% for Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Carpio1. (Please refer to Table 1.)


In the same vein, President Duterte, Vice-President Robredo, and Senate President Sotto also enjoy majority trust ratings (72%, 56%, and 66%, respectively). Indecision is the plurality sentiment regarding the trustworthiness of Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Carpio (45%) while it is distrust in the case of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (43%). It is the latter who scores the lowest trust rating (19%) among all top five (5) national government officials while the lowest distrust figure is posted by Senate President Sotto (6%). Filipinos are most likely to be undecided concerning the trustworthiness of Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Carpio (45%) and least ambivalent on the matter of trusting or distrusting President Duterte (19%). (Please refer to Table 2.)

President Duterte and Senate President Sotto have majority approval ratings across geographic areas (66% to 90% and 69% to 76%, respectively) and socio-economic groupings (72% to 81% and 67% to 79%, respectively). These leading government officials also receive majority trust scores in each geographic area (63% to 90% and 65% to 68%, respectively) and socio-economic class (71% to 76% and 56% to 68%, respectively). (Please refer to Tables 3 to 4.)

For her part, Vice-President Robredo records majority approval and trust scores in nearly all geographic areas (56% to 80% and 53% to 76%, respectively). Metro Manila is the exception in both cases with the Vice-President obtaining approval and trust scores of 49% and 43%, respectively, from residents in this area. With regard to vice-presidential performance, majority approval ratings are posted across geographic areas and socio-economic classes (53% to 68%) but when it comes to vice-presidential trustworthiness, only those in Classes D and E give Vice-President Robredo majority trust figures (56% to 66%). Exactly the same percentage of those in Class ABC (41%) either trust the latter or are ambivalent about her trustworthiness.

A near majority of Mindanawons (49%) have a positive assessment of the work done by Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Carpio. In the other geographic and socio-economic subgroupings, the latter records virtually the same approval and indecision figures (38% to 46% versus 38% to 49%). On the other hand, most Metro Manilans (57%) and those in Class ABC (52%) cannot say if they trust or distrust the Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice. Indecision toward the latter’s trustworthiness is the plurality sentiment in the rest of Luzon (43%), the Visayas (44%), and Class D (47%) while about the same percentages in Mindanao either trust him or are undecided regarding his trustworthiness (44% versus 43%). Public opinion is split three-ways in Class E with 32% trusting the government official, 35% being ambivalent on the matter, and 28% expressing distrust in him.

Distrust toward House Speaker Macapagal-Arroyo is the plurality sentiment in Metro Manila (50%), the rest of Luzon (47%), the Visayas (47%), Class D (44%), and Class E (45%). In Mindanao, a big plurality of its residents (41%) are ambivalent about the latter’s trustworthiness. In Class ABC, the House Speaker has essentially the same trust, indecision, and distrust scores (25%, 39%, and 36%, respectively). House Speaker Macapagal-Arroyo was not performance-rated in this survey. (Please refer to Table 4.)

The overall approval and trust ratings of President Rodrigo R. Duterte decline between June and September 2018; several changes in the ratings of other top government officials also occur during this period

At the national level, President Duterte experience a decline in his approval ratings (-13 percentage points) and a rise in indecision (+5 percentage points) during the period June to September 2018. The President’s overall disapproval score also goes up during this period (+7 percentage points). Across geographic areas and socio-economic classes, appreciation for presidential performance eases in the rest of Luzon (-17 percentage points) and Class D (-13 percentage points). In the case of Vice-President Robredo, her approval score goes up in the Visayas (+17 percentage points) but declines in Mindanao (-11 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 5.)

Only President Duterte and Vice-President Robredo have comparative approval and trust ratings for the period June to September 2018. Trust in the President becomes less pronounced not only at the national level (-15 percentage points) but in basically all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (-13 to -20 percentage points and -12 to -16 percentage points, respectively). The exceptions are Mindanao and Class ABC (-4 to -9 percentage points, respectively). Meanwhile, Vice-President Robredo enjoys gains in public trust in the Visayas (+14 percentage points) and Class E (+16 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 6.)

Furthermore, indecision concerning presidential trustworthiness becomes more marked between June and September 2018 among Filipinos as a whole (+8 percentage points) and in the rest of Luzon and Class D in particular (+9 and +8 percentage points, respectively). On the other hand, fewer of those in Class E express indecision about Vice-President Robredo’s trustworthiness during this period (-12 percentage points). As regards distrust toward President Duterte, it becomes more notable in the rest of Luzon (+11 percentage points) and Class D (+8 percentage points). There are no marked changes in the Vice-President’s distrust scores.

Majority approval ratings are enjoyed by Congress and the Supreme Court in September 2018 (52% to 63%); public opinion concerning these institutions’ performance changes markedly between June and September 2018

Approval is the prevailing sentiment about the work done by the Supreme Court (52%), the House of Representatives (56%), and the Senate (63%). These institutions’ disapproval ratings range only from 7% for the Senate to 10% for the Supreme Court while indecision toward their performance is most manifest in the case of the Supreme Court (38%) and least pronounced toward the Senate (29%). Between June and September 2018, these institutions’ overall approval scores decline (-6 to -11 percentage points) while ambivalence concerning their work becomes more notable (+6 to +11 percentage points). (Please refer to Tables 7 to 8.)

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives post majority approval ratings in the various geographic areas (55% to 73% and 54% to 62%, respectively) and socio-economic classes (59% to 64% and 56% to 60%, respectively). The Supreme Court has majority approval scores in the rest of Luzon (52%), Mindanao (55%), Class D (51%), and Class E (57%) but it registers practically the same approval and indecision figures in Metro Manila (49% versus 41%), the Visayas (49% versus 40%), and Class ABC (48% versus 44%). (Please refer to Table 7.)

From June to September 2018, approval for the Senate eases in the rest of Luzon (-9 percentage points). In Metro Manila, outright disapproval for the latter’s work becomes less manifest (-13 percentage points) but the level of indecision toward its performance goes up (+22 percentage points). Meanwhile, appreciation for the performance of the House of Representatives becomes less pronounced in the rest of Luzon (-11 percentage points), the Visayas (-14 percentage points), and Class D (-9 percentage points) while ambivalence on the matter becomes more marked in Class D (+7 percentage points). In the case of the Supreme Court, its approval scores decline in the rest of Luzon (-9 percentage points), the Visayas (-23 percentage points), Mindanao (-11 percentage points), and Class D (-11 percentage points). Ambivalence toward the latter’s work becomes more notable in the Visayas (+19 percentage points), Class ABC (+21 percentage points), and Class D (+10 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 8.)



1 Incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro is not included in the performance probe since she took her oath of office only a few days before the start of the field work for this survey (i.e., 28 August 2018). In the case of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, she assumed her post on 23 July 2018 or just a little over a month prior to the conduct of the survey interviews. The performance probe asks respondents to assess the work done by selected government personalities in the three (3) months prior to the conduct of the survey.)