Cut Noy some slack - analyst
- Cheryl Arcibal () - April 3, 2012 - 11:30am

MANILA, Philippines - Despite a drop in his net satisfaction ratings, a political analyst believes that the public should cut  President Benigno Aquino III some slack.

Clarita Carlos, a professor at the University of the Philippines, said there are a number of issues that must be clarified about the latest Social Weather Stations poll, which showed that the net satisfaction rating of the President slipped to a “good’ +49 points in March 2012 from a “very good” +58 points in a December 2011 survey.

The latest poll, which had 1,200 respondents, was held from March 10 to March 13. She said that while Malacañang should consider the survey results, it “should not worship at the altar of these numbers.”

The survey showed a 13-point drop in the number of respondents who think President Aquino is serving the poor and a four-point increase in the number of people who think the President is serving the rich.

“We have to know if the results of the survey came from informed respondents or those who know nothing about current issues. Also, we have yet to see the full effects of the economic policies of the government because there is the lag effect,” Carlos said in a radio interview.

Carlos said that although the drop in the satisfaction ratings of Aquino could have been affected by the continued oil price hikes, she conceded that the increase in the prices of petroleum products is out of the government’s control. She said the tensions in Middle East owing to the conflict between Israel and Iran have been pushing oil prices higher.

“The government is just there to regulate and not to command and control. As consumers, we can do a lot of things to reduce costs and improve lives. Most of us drive SUVs and some change their phones every week,” she said.

Cut the ‘red tape’

Carlos, however, said that the Aquino administration must be able to cut the bureaucratic red tape to improve the public’s perception of the government.

“I traced the process, in the government, to buy one faucet unit, approval would have to come from 25 persons. That’s why I think we should give our President emergency powers to address the Mindanao power crisis, especially because he is not power-hungry,” she said.

Carlos also defended Aquino from his critics who said that the President has been “Noynoying” or doing nothing to address the county’s various problems.

“If that is how his personality is, we should let him be. His hair is already thinning. We had presidents who wake up at 5 a.m. like [Fidel] Ramos and [Gloria Macapagal-] Arroyo, and if our President wakes up at 10 a.m., that’s his style. What matters is the end result,” Carlos said.

A militant group, meanwhile, said Aquino is beginning to sound like his predecessor – Arroyo – for belittling the results of the latest SWS poll.

Renato Reyes Jr., Bayan secretary-general, said the President should address the people's grievances.

"His recent pronouncements show gross insensitivity to the plight of the poor. The landlord president cares more about what foreign investors and creditors will think than what the poor are facing," he added.

In 2007, in defending her fiscal reforms such as the value added tax, Mrs. Arroyo said in her State of the Nation Address that she would rather be right than popular.

"We were able to strengthen our economy because of the fiscal reforms that we adopted at such great cost to me in public disapproval. But I would rather be right than popular," Arroyo then said.

Reyes said that the survey was taken even before the term "Noynoying" or his supposed inaction was introduced to the public.

"Aquino only has himself to blame. Even before the ‘Noynoying’ term caught on, the public sentiment against the President’s inaction was already there. Don’t blame the activists, Mr. President. Look only to government's performance," Reyes said. -- Dennis Carcamo

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