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Still smooth sailing

/ 09:38 PM October 21, 2011

The SWS Third Quarter report card on public satisfaction with the performance of the P-Noy administration, released last Tuesday in BusinessWorld, is quite favorable again.

In September 2011, 68 percent of adult Filipinos were satisfied, and 12 percent were dissatisfied, with the P-Noy administration’s overall performance, for a new net overall rating of +56, which SWS categorizes as “Very Good” (+50 to +69).

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This is even better than June 2011’s 62 percent satisfied and 17 percent dissatisfied, or net +45, called “Good” (+30 to +49), which had led to my column “The best-liked administration, so far” (July 30, 2011).  It pointed out that the present administration had, in the Second Quarter, already exceeded all of the general performance ratings scored by SWS on this matter from February 1989, mid-way in Cory Aquino’s time, to the present. The comparison is clearly shown in the time-charts of the full SWS report (www.sws.org.ph).

In addition to the overall grade, the September 2011 report card has grades on 16 performance issues or “subjects”, of which two are Very Good, seven are Good, four are Moderate (+10 to +29), two are Neutral (-9 to +9, i.e., statistically zero), and only one is Poor (-29 to -10).   For comparison, the June 2011 report card on 17 subjects had five Goods, eight Moderates, three Neutrals, and one Poor.

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(Note: The overall rating comes from its own survey item asked before the items about the various performance subjects.  Thus it is answered before respondent are primed about any “successful” or “unsuccessful” subjects.)

In September 2011, the people’s grades for the national administration are Very Good on the subjects of Improving the quality of children’s education (net +56, a new record-high; last graded in May 2005, at a Moderate +14) and Helping the poor (+50, up from +44 in June). The full SWS report has time-charts of each subject’s grades, going back to previous administrations.

In its five quarters, the P-Noy administration’s average grade on helping the poor is +48, or way above the national administration’s averages of +13 under Ramos (13 surveys of 1993-98), +33 under Estrada (3 surveys of 1998-99), and +9 under Arroyo (22 surveys of 2004-10; helping the poor was not graded during 2000-03).

The September grades are Good on: Foreign relations (+44, up from +43), Promoting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (+41, repeating the record-high in June), Telling the truth (+37, up from a Neutral -4 when last graded in December 2008), Fighting terrorism (+34, a new record-high;  up from +30 in June), Reconciliation with Muslim rebels (+34, a new record-high; up from +25), Reconciliation with Communist rebels (+33, a new record-high; up from +23), and Ensuring an efficient transportation system (+33, first time graded).

Foreign relations is a subject that does not trouble the people. The previous administrations’ average grades on it were Moderate: +23 under Ramos (21 surveys), +27 under Estrada (8 surveys), and +21 under Arroyo (28 surveys).  The P-Noy administration’s average is a Good +48 from five rounds so far.

The new grades are Moderate on: Eradicating graft and corruption (+27, up from +16), Fighting crimes (+26, up from +23), Deciding quickly on important problems (+25, highest since Estrada’s time; up from +22), and Ensuring that no family will be hungry (+13, up from a Neutral +4).

Fighting corruption is typically the second-weakest subject of the report card. The previous administrations’ average grades on it were: -8 under Cory Aquino, -19 under Ramos, -7 under Estrada, and -20 under Arroyo.  The P-Noy administration, with no negative rating yet, has averaged a Moderate +20 so far.  This is a big accomplishment.

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Fighting hunger was first graded in 2004, and has been a core subject ever since.  All the Arroyo-time grades were negative, averaging a Poor -22.  All the P-Noy-time grades are positive so far, averaging a Moderate +10.

The September grades are Neutral on two subjects: Fighting inflation (+9, up from +4), and Ensuring that oil firms don’t take advantage of oil prices (+4, up from net zero).

Fighting inflation is typically the weakest subject. The previous administrations’ average grades on this were Poor or worse: -23 under Cory Aquino, -32 (i.e., Bad) under Ramos, -24.1 under Estrada, and -24.2 under Arroyo.  With four positives and one zero so far, the P-Noy administration’s average Neutral +8 is a real improvement.

The sole Poor grade in September was -13, on Resolving the Maguindanao massacre case with justice, a little above its -16 in June.  The P-Noy administration’s average of five grades on this is -13. The one grade under Arroyo was -3 (December 2009).  So this is the one subject where, so far, the administration has not bettered its predecessors.

For the 16 subjects, the September report card had several new record-highs, and one record maintained.  For the 13 subjects also graded in June, no grade went down.

The change to 16 subjects in September, from 17 in June, was due to dropping Being prepared for strong typhoons, Implementing housing projects for the poor, Prosecuting tax evaders, and Suppressing private armies in Mindanao, in favor of Children’s education, Telling the truth, and Efficient transportation.

Potential new subjects for the next report card are Promoting employment and Promoting business investments.  Let’s see what happens.

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Contact SWS: www.sws.org.ph or mahar.mangahas@sws.org.ph.

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