Most Filipinos deem gov't COVID-19 action 'adequate' except for helping jobless â SWS
The Ortigas Business district dwarfs a slum area along the Pasig Floodway in this photo dated May 25, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Most Filipinos deem gov't COVID-19 action 'adequate' except for helping jobless — SWS

Franco Luna ( - October 18, 2020 - 10:14am

MANILA, Philippines — Most Filipinos deem the national government's coronavirus response to be generally "adequate," with the exception of their assistance extended to the now-jobless, new national survey results suggested. 

In a survey published Saturday evening, the Social Weather Stations found that 71% of 1,249 adult Filipino respondents spoke favorably about the Duterte administration's response to the global pandemic in terms of ensuring the public has enough information on how to fight COVID-19 (71%), ensuring there will be extensive contact tracing (67%), and ensuring there is affordable COVID-19 testing nationwide (54%).

Only 22% generally disagreed and 6% were undecided.

"However, only 44% believe government actions are adequate on ensuring the provision of adequate help for people who lost their job/livelihood," the survey results read.

SWS in an earlier survey also found that joblessness in the adult labor force was at a record-high 45.5% as of August this year.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the coronavirus crisis has also so far displaced around 3.5 million workers, including 1.9 million who were temporarily laid off while businesses were shuttered at the height of lockdowns from March to June.

Among the 1,249 adult Filipinos who participated nationwide in the SWS survey through mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing, 309 were in Metro Manila, 328 were in the rest of Luzon, 300 were in the Visayas islands, and 312 were from Mindanao. The survey's sampling error margins were reported at ±3% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±6% for the Visayas, and ±6% for Mindanao. 

The survey found that majority consider government actions to be ‘adequate’ on 3 out of 4 areas of concern: ensuring the public has enough information on how to fight Covid-19 (71%), ensuring there will be extensive contact tracing, and ensuring there is affordable Covid-19 testing nationwide.
Release/Social Weather Stations

Past surveys

Previous SWS results amid the Duterte administration's community quarantine have painted a picture of the exact opposite, however. 

In August, Malacañang expressed elation towards survey results that suggested almost half of adult Filipinos experienced joblessness amid a mishandled coronavirus pandemic, saying as per usual that it could have been worse. 

"I'm delighted we didn't lose 100% of our jobs despite the extremely long time we were locked down. I'm still surprised at our resilience, and only 45% lost their jobs. It could have been worse because complete lockdown is happening to us," Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said then. 

One survey recorded an "all-time low" in Filipinos' quality of life in the last 12 months—after 83% of respondents said they are worse off compared to last year. In response, Roque was quoted as saying at the time that "it should be 100% [of Filipinos who are worse off] because there is COVID-19 and the economy was closed. That doesn't surprise us."

One July survey found that some 5.2 million families experienced involuntary hunger in the past three months, while another survey in June found that 43% of Filipinos are expecting their life to get worse in the next 12 months, to which Roque said: "the entire world, not only the Philippines, will face challenges."

Although it is careful to rebuff similar survey results, Malacañang often welcomes other surveys also from SWS that show an “excellent” net satisfaction rating of the Duterte administration. 

Coronavirus response

Earlier in October, a separate survey from research firm Pulse Asia similarly found that four of the country's top public officials, including the chief executive, enjoy majority approval ratings from the Filipino people amid, and despite, his coronavirus response.

Over half a year—eight months, or 215 days—since the first recorded infection in the Philippines, the national government is still wrestling with curbing the spread of the coronavirus, while often trumpeting the narrative that the uphill battle is actually a winning one and asserting that thinking otherwise is a “wrong view.” 

This, despite the Philippines still being under the longest recorded quarantine in the world, and the daily additions in coronavirus cases are still being reported in the thousands—the only country in the Western Pacific region of the World Health Organization to be doing so. 

To date, the new pathogen has infected over 354,000 Filipinos and killed over 6,600. 

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