GMA gets good ratings in infra, shortcoming is corruption
- Ghio Ong, Helen Flores () - August 5, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Four in 10 Filipinos appreciate former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s infrastructure projects but a significant number also consider her inability to address the problems of corruption and inflation as among her biggest failures, a recent Pulse Asia survey showed.

The non-commissioned survey, conducted from July 1 to 10, found that 43 percent of Filipinos are most appreciative of Arroyo’s efforts to upgrade the country’s infrastructure/airports/ports.

Pulse Asia’s July Ulat ng Bayan Survey also revealed that public disapproval and distrust were the prevailing sentiments toward Arroyo up to the last three months of her term.

Arroyo is now the congresswoman of Pampanga’s second district.

Elena Bautista-Horn, Arroyo’s spokesperson, said while some parts of the poll were still negative, at least Filipinos are starting to appreciate her accomplishments.

She declined to comment further as she has yet to see the details of the survey.

“We want to see how the questions were phrased and how they were asked. It really depends on how you ask the questions. But at least the people now appreciate the infrastructure projects the President has made,” Bautista-Horn told reporters.

“You go anywhere. Compared to 2000, it’s really different now. The roads and bridges have improved,” she said.

A majority of those in Class ABC (53 percent) and Metro Manila (54 percent) cite infrastructure improvements as the former president’s biggest achievement while big pluralities in the other geographic areas (40 percent to 45 percent) and socioeconomic groupings (40 percent to 44 percent) also feel the same way.

Less than one in 10 Filipinos cites other achievements, such as improving access to education (six percent), providing assistance to victims of natural calamities (four percent), providing assistance to the poor (four percent), providing health insurance (three percent), providing jobs (two percent), ensuring peace and order (two percent), improving the welfare of soldiers and law enforcers (one percent), and increasing the pay of workers (one percent).

However, nearly three in 10 Filipinos (26 percent) do not cite any meaningful achievement of the former chief executive, with figures ranging from 17 percent to 34 percent across geographic areas and 16 percent to 30 percent across socioeconomic classes.

Some 26 percent of Filipinos consider Mrs. Arroyo’s failure to address the problem of corruption during her term as her biggest shortcoming.

Pulse Asia said this view is articulated by 23 percent to 32 percent across the country’s geographic areas and by 21 percent to 35 percent across socio-economic groupings.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Arroyo’s inability to control the spiraling costs of basic commodities is identified by 17 percent of Filipinos; her extensive foreign travels were cited by 13 percent, and election cheating (“Hello, Garci” 2004 election fraud controversy) was cited by 11 percent as her biggest failures.

Other issues identified by less than one in 10 Filipinos are her failure to provide jobs (eight percent), address the problem of criminality and resolve the Maguindanao massacre (three percent), address the problem of poverty (two percent), increase the salaries of workers (one percent), and provide scholarships (one percent).

One in 10 Filipinos (11 percent) were not able to cite what they consider to be Mrs. Arroyo’s biggest failure.

Pulse Asia said both probes on Mrs. Arroyo’s most meaningful achievement and greatest shortcoming/mistake were fielded to respondents as open-ended questions.

Meanwhile, two in three Filipinos (62 percent) are critical of the work done by the former president during the period April to June 2010, while around the same percentages either approve of the same or are ambivalent on the matter (16 percent versus 22 percent).

“These figures are generally unchanged relative to those obtaining in Pulse Asia’s March 2010 nationwide survey,” it said.

A majority across geographic areas (56 percent to 67 percent) and socio-economic groupings (56 percent to 64 percent) disapprove of the former president’s performance.

Meanwhile, those in the Visayas (27 percent) are most appreciative of Arroyo’s work while low public approval levels may be noted in Manila (13 percent), the rest of Luzon (13 percent), Mindanao (14 percent), and Classes D and E (15 percent to 16 percent).

With respect to indecision, figures range from 17 percent in the Visayas to 24 percent in the rest of Luzon and Mindanao.

Between March and July 2010, the only double-digit changes in the former president’s performance ratings occur in the Visayas and Class ABC where public indecision eases by 10 and 11 percentage points, respectively, Pulse Asia said.

A majority of Filipinos (67 percent) also expressed distrust in Arroyo.

In contrast, 13 percent trust her while 20 percent are unable to say if they trust or distrust her.

There are essentially no changes in the overall trust ratings of Arroyo during the period April to July 2010.

Public distrust is the predominant sentiment regarding the trustworthiness of Arroyo in all geographic areas of the country, with figures ranging from 61 percent in the Visayas to 73 percent in Metro Manila.

Virtually the same distrust ratings are recorded in all socioeconomic classes (66 percent to 67 percent).

On the other hand, trust ratings vary from nine percent in Metro Manila to 21 percent in the Visayas across geographic areas while almost similar figures are posted in the different socio-economic groupings (12 percent to 17 percent).

With respect to public indecision on the matter of trusting or distrusting Arroyo, almost the same levels may be observed across geographic areas (18 percent to 24 percent) and socio-economic classes (18 percent to 21 percent).

It said figures recorded in these sub-groupings remain practically constant between April and July 2010.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above.

It has sampling error margins of plus or minus three percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. – With Paolo Romero

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