Calm as 2017 ends | Inquirer Opinion
Social Climate

Calm as 2017 ends

/ 05:28 AM December 30, 2017

The year 2017 is ending on a calm, relatively stress-free, note.

The President’s rebound. Last Dec. 22, the first release from the SWS Fourth Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey reported that President Duterte’s net satisfaction rating had rebounded to +58 (Very Good) in December, from +48 (Good) in September. I suspect that the main factor that countered the natural tendency for the rating to decline was the end of the war in Marawi City, on Oct. 23.


The President’s honeymoon period has clearly exceeded the four quarters of Joseph Estrada. It needs another year to match the honeymoons of Corazon Aquino (at +50 at the end of 1988) and Fidel Ramos (also +50, at the end of 1994). It needs a year and a half to match that of Benigno Aquino III (+64 by mid-2013).

The new Duterte rating is Excellent, as usual, in Mindanao (+80).  It is Very Good in Metro Manila (+55), the Visayas (+53), and the Balance of Luzon (+50).


The people’s reservations about martial law. The SWS survey, conducted on Dec. 8-16, also found 62 percent in the nation opposed to extending martial law beyond its then-scheduled ending of Dec. 31, 2017.

The opposition to the extension was 67 percent in Metro Manila, 63 percent in the Balance of Luzon, 62 percent in Mindanao, and 55 percent in the Visayas. (It was on Dec. 13, midway during the fieldwork, that Congress approved the one-year extension of martial law.)

The people’s confidence in the AFP without martial law. The survey also found 66 percent feeling that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is capable of suppressing the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups even without martial law. Confidence in the AFP’s capability grew from 54 percent in June and 57 percent in September, when SWS asked the same question.

The December confidence in the AFP was 70 percent in Metro Manila, 67 percent in the Balance of Luzon, 66 percent in the Visayas, and 61 percent in Mindanao. Confidence in the AFP grew in all areas.

High expectations of a happy Christmas. SWS uses its final quarterly survey of the year to ask people if they think their coming Christmas will be happy or sad. When this series started in 2002, 82 percent nationwide expected it to be happy, 3 percent said it would be sad, and the rest said neither.

That was the brightest point of the 16-year history. The “happy” percentage dipped to 77 percent in 2003, and was in the 60s in 2004-13, bottoming at 62 in 2005 and 2006. It recovered to 71, 72, and 73 in 2014-16. This year 77 percent said it will be happy, matching the second-best in the series, and only 5 percent said sad.

The happiest 2017 percentage is in Mindanao (82), followed by the Visayas (80), Balance of Luzon (75) and Metro Manila (69).  The pattern is familiar: In 16 years, Mindanao was on top 9 times, Visayas 6 times, and Balance of Luzon once.


Record high hope for the New Year. Every fourth quarter, SWS also asks whether people are entering the new year with hope or with fear, borrowing an item used by the Allensbach Institute of Demoskopy, the European opinion polling research pioneer, in its annual Christmas card.

Since 2000, the percentage of Filipinos seeing hope in the new year has been in the 80s five times, the last time in 2009, and in the 90s 13 times, including all of 2010-17. The worst was 81 percent in 2004; the best is 96 percent, right now, in December 2017.

In contrast, during 1991-2016 the record high percentage of hopeful Germans is only 58, and the average for the last five years is only about 50. What a clear cultural difference!

Contact [email protected] Happy New Year to all!

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TAGS: Mahar Mangahas, Mindanao martial law, Rodrigo Duterte, satifaction rating, Social Climate, Social Weather Stations, SWS
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