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SWS: Support for drug war declining in the past year

Support for President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has been declining for the past year, polling firm SWS finds. AFP/Noel Celis, File

MANILA, Philippines — The number of Filipinos satisfied with the government's war on narcotics dipped by two points in September from the previous level recorded in June, polling firm Social Weather Stations said, continuing a downward trend of support for the government's anti-narcotics campaign for the past one-year period.

September's satisfaction rating of +63 (77 percent satisfied, 14 percent dissatisfied), classified as "very good," was 13 points lower than the net satisfaction rating of +76 in September last year. It enjoyed the highest support in December at +77.

From +66 in March, it went down to +65 in June as domestic and international criticisms dampened public support for the brutal campaign, and this opposition crested in August when Caloocan police were accused of killing several teenagers accused of involvement in crime, weeks before the latest survey was conducted.

According to SWS, the sharpest declines in support were recorded in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, but these plunges were offset by increased satisfaction among Mindanao and Visayas residents.

From +77 (86% satisfied, 9% dissatisfied) in June 2017, support for the drug war in Metro Manila dove to +61 (77% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied) in September. From September 2016 to March 2017, the support for the campaign in Metro Manila was from +69 to +80.

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Support in Balance Luzon also fell by 7 points, from +61 (75% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied) in June to +54 (72% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied) in September. Support for the drug war in this area ranged from +64 to +77 from September last year to March this year.

Mindanao, the home region of Duterte who was a former mayor of Davao City, offset the declines of support in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, with satisfaction in the drug war soaring by 11 points from +66 (79% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied) in June to +77 (85% satisfied, 7% dissatisfied, correctly rounded) in September.

The support from the region ranged from +70 to +87 from September 2016 to March 2017.

A four-point increase of support was also seen in the Visayas, from +64 (78% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied) in June to +68 (80% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied) in September.

Drug war support from the region ranged from +64 in September last year to March 2017.

Satisfaction with Duterte, who campaigned last year on a strong anti-drug, -corruption and -crime platform, also has a high correlation with satisfaction with the drug war, according to the polling firm.

SWS said that the president's net satisfaction was "very good" at +63  (75% satisfied, 13% dissatisfied) among those satisfied with the campaign, "moderate" at +23 (48% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied) among those undecided and "poor" at -20 (31% satisfied, 50% dissatisfied) among those dissatisfied.

The September 2017 survey also indicated that seven in 10 Filipinos thought that there were fewer drug addicts in their neighborhood compared to the situation six months ago.

Only 9 percent thought there were more individuals addicted to drugs while 12 percent said that the number was the same with that half a year ago.

"The largest proportion of those who see fewer drug addicts now compared to 6 months ago was in Mindanao, where 85% say there are Less drug addicts now, 3% say there are More, and 7% say it is the Same," SWS said.

"This is followed by Balance Luzon (68% Less, 8% More, and 14% Same), Metro Manila (66% Less, 15% More, 16% Same), and the Visayas (65% Less, 13% More, 14% Same)," it added.

These results came just a day after Pulse Asia, another polling agency, said that 88 percent of Filipinos were supportive of the drug war while 73 percent believe that extrajudicial killings were happening in the conduct of the campaign.

However, the two firms' computations are different as SWS subtracts dissatisfaction ratings from satisfaction scores to obtain the net ratings while Pulse Asia does not.

The September 2017 survey was conducted from September 23 to 27 using face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adults nationwide. Six hundred adults were interviewed in Balance Luzon while 300 each participated in Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.

It has a margin of error of ±3% for national percentages, ±4% for Balance Luzon and ±6% each for Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.

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