Grace still on top; Mar surges to No. 2 – SWS

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe remained the most preferred candidate for president and vice president in the May 2016 elections based on the third quarter survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS), but Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II posted the highest gain, overtaking Vice President Jejomar Binay for second place.Poe, daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., obtained 47 percent voter’s preference in September, slightly up from 42 percent in June.

Poe formally announced her presidential bid last Sept. 16.

The survey was conducted from Sept. 2 to 5, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents nationwide.

Respondents were asked to give up to three names of those they see as “good leaders to succeed” President Aquino next year.

Roxas, who announced his candidacy on July 31, has the biggest improvement among the preferred presidential aspirants.

His rating went up by 18 points from 21 percent in June to 39 percent this month, taking the second spot from Binay.

Binay, meanwhile, slid down to third with 35 percent, from 34 percent previously.

Binay, facing various corruption allegations, was the first to declare his intention to seek the presidency last July 1.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte remained at fourth place with 16 percent, a slight drop from the previous 20 percent.

Duterte announced on Sept. 7 his decision not to run for the presidency.

The other personalities ranked in the survey were Sen. Francis Escudero with six percent (from four percent); Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., five percent (three percent); former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, three percent (from seven percent) and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, two percent (from four percent).

Escudero is Poe’s running mate in the upcoming 2016 polls.

Marcos, on the other hand, is one of the three personalities being considered as Binay’s running mate.

Former senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Villar and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano received one percent each.

 VP bets

 Poe also continued to lead the vice presidential race with 25 percent from 21 percent rating last June.

Escudero came in second with 18 percent, rising 11 points from seven percent.

Respondents were asked about who they were likely to vote for vice president should elections be held the day they were asked.

Marcos and Roxas ranked third with six percent each. Marcos’ rating improved by five points while Roxas suffered a six-point decline in his rating.

Binay obtained five percent from seven percent, followed by Duterte and Cayetano with three percent each.

Duterte’s score was unchanged from June’s three percent, while Cayetano’s rating slightly rose from two percent in June.

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, who is being wooed to become Roxas’ running mate, obtained two percent.

Other personalities received one percent each: Sen. Loren Legarda, Estrada, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Defensor-Santiago, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Villar, boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and Lacson.

The survey has sampling error margins of plus or minus three percentage points for national percentages and plus or minus six percentage points each for Metro Manila, balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Results of the survey were published in the newspaper BusinessWorld yesterday.

On the right track 

Poe said she is humbled by the continuous support of the people on her bid to become the successor of President Aquino after he finishes his six-year term in June next year.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank the Filipino people for their support and trust. I am again humbled that our kababayans continue to appreciate our hard work and the brand of governance that we are upholding and pushing,” she said. 

Poe’s hold on the number one spot came amid the cloud of doubt over her citizenship, which is being heard by the Senate Electoral Tribunal.

“Our growing support from the people, as reflected in this survey, is an affirmation that what we have started is on the right track. It’s a validation that our agenda for transparency, efficiency and honesty resonate well with our people,” she said.

As a public servant, Poe said she will continue to carry out her mandate.

“Our people’s unwavering support remains an inspiration,” she said.

‘Mar on the upswing’

For his part, Senate President Franklin Drilon remains optimistic that the ratings of Roxas will continue to go up after he overtook Binay in second spot in the latest SWS survey.

“(This) is a strong indication of an upward trend for the Liberal Party’s presidential candidate, buoyed by President Aquino’s tuwid na daan (straight path) leadership,” Drilon said.

“The spike in Roxas’ rating shows that President Aquino’s endorsement power remains critical and cannot be ignored. It likewise shows that the public’s appreciation for the administration’s reform policies should not be underestimated,” he said.

Drilon said the rising momentum in the poll ratings of Roxas only shows that more and more Filipinos believe in what President Aquino said, that Roxas is the best leader to continue and improve the achievements made by the present administration.

Agri group backs Grace, Chiz

A leader of an umbrella organization of 33 federations and organizations of various sectors of the agriculture industry in the Philippines yesterday said they will back the tandem of Poe and Escudero in the 2016 polls because their team-up will ensure the growth of their sector in the next six years.

“They both have the best interest of the agriculture sector in their hearts, and for us, that is the bottom line,” Rosendo So, president of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) and chairman of ABONO party-list, said in a statement.

He said Poe is batting for the irrigation of 500,000 hectares of land while Escudero wants more budget for farm-to-market roads which will lower the prices of agricultural products.

“If we help uplift the lives of our farmers, our entire economy will improve. It will have a bottom-up effect, and we need leaders like Senator Poe and Senator Escudero to make this happen,” he added.

Poe has vowed to work for the improvement of the agricultural sector if she wins the presidency.

“We will heed their longing for land to till. Irrigation is still badly needed in half a million hectares of land. We will push for mechanization. We need an effective program to make fishing, farming and livestock propagation profitable for our farmers and the youth,” she said.

Escudero, for his part, has always prioritized the welfare of farmers and agri-growers as a lawmaker, being the son of the late agriculture minister Salvador Escudero.

He earlier criticized the government for underspending in agriculture projects, which he said threatens the country’s food security.

Escudero also urged the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority to discuss with manufacturers and distributors the possibility of reducing fertilizer prices.

So said under a Poe-Escudero administration, Filipinos can expect stricter policies against smuggling of agricultural products, “something that the current administration has failed to fully address.”

Poe has authored Senate Bill 2348, An Act Amending Presidential Decree No. 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, defining smuggling as an act that constitutes economic sabotage.

SINAG had disclosed that some P37.35 billion worth of agricultural products were smuggled into the country last year.

“It is a double-whammy for Filipinos. On one hand, the government is losing much-needed revenues. On the other hand, those involved in the local production of agricultural products are not able to compete with these smuggled goods,” So said.

Both Poe and Escudero have also committed to increase employment in the agriculture sector, which currently accounts for 30 percent of the total labor force.

Poe has backed the passage of Senate Bill 1282, which seeks to encourage Filipinos to venture into agriculture by giving incentives.

She also filed Senate Bill 2089, an act promoting corporate farming and providing incentives for its effective implementation. – With Christina Mendez, Perseus Echeminada


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