President Duterte scored a crucial point in the raging international media war initiated by his so-called yellow critics after a Washington-based think tank released yesterday a survey showing 86 percent of Filipinos having “a favorable view of Duterte” while 78 percent supported his handling of the illegal-drugs issue and 62 percent said his administration “is making progress in its anti-drug campaign.”
The results of the US based Pew Research Center’s Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey also indicated that 78 percent of respondents believe the current economic situation is good and 57 percent are “satisfied with the direction of the country,” which was a 21 percentage point increase from 2014, which Pew Research said it last held a survey in the Philippines.
Pew Research said the survey was held from February 26 to May 8, 2017, among 1,000 adult respondents.
A separate but related survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released the other day showed 80 percent of respondents saying they were satisfied with how democracy works in the Philippines.
The survey was conducted between June 23 and 26.
The SWS survey results were timed with the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
The survey showed 61 percent of respondents prefer democracy against 19 percent who favor an authoritarian government.
Mr. Duterte has waged a war on drugs that has garnered international condemnation, including accusations of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court but the “survey finds that Duterte is well-liked domestically and his policies, including his approach to the war on drugs, are generally popular among Filipinos,” Pew Research said.
The poll showed a 57 percent majority expressing satisfacton “with the way things are going in their country,” up from 36 percent three years ago.
Moreover, 78 percent of respondents believe that the economic situation in the Philippines is good, while only 20 percent said the economy is in bad shape.
It also showed that among the large majority of Filipinos, or 86 percent, hold a favorable opinion of Duterte, with some 41 percent expressing “a very favorable opinion of the president” and only 12 percent of respondents expressed an unfavorable view of Duterte.
It added that on five key domestic issues, around two-thirds or more approve of the job Duterte is doing.
The survey showed 80 percent of respondents approved of Duterte’s handling of the economy and 78 percent favor his handling of the narcotics issues.
“Large majorities also support his stance on crime, corruption and terrorism. Duterte’s handling of these issues garners widespread approval within the Philippines, regardless of demographic group,” Pew Research indicated.
Drugs war gets high approval
The survey said that even among those who view the president unfavorably, more than half, or 59 percent, approve of his handling of illegal drugs; 55 percent approve his anti-corruption policies; 55 percent go with his moves against terrorism and 54 percent approve of his economic policies.
“Duterte’s detractors, however, tend to disapprove of his handling of crime (55 percent),” Pew Research said.
In addition to approving Duterte’s approach to the war on drugs, a majority (62 percent) believes the government is making progress in its campaign against illegal drugs, while 21 percent said things are the same as they were in the past and only 15 percent said the government is losing ground.
The survey also showed large majorities of both less-educated and more-educated Filipinos approve of Duterte’s handling of the illegal-drugs issue.
Filipinos with a secondary education or above (70 percent), however, are much more likely than those with a below-secondary education (49 percent) to say that the government is making progress in its campaign against illegal drugs, Pew Research said.
The survey also indicated that Filipinos also share positive views of China and its leader, President Xi Jinping and overall, the perception gap between the US and China in the Philippines is narrowing.
The narrowed perception had a lot to do with the assumption of US President Trump as the survey showed 78 percent in the Philippines have a positive view of the US, down from 92 percent who expressed positive sentiment in 2015.
“Despite Filipinos being the most pro-Trump nation in Pew Research Center’s spring 37-country survey, confidence in Trump now is lower than trust in then-President Barack Obama was in 2015. Currently, 69 percent have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, compared with 94 percent who expressed such confidence in Obama in 2015,” it showed.
“Despite these drops, people in the Philippines still support the US military presence in the region and say that the US would defend them should they get into a conflict with China,” Pew research said.
“Three-quarters say having US military personnel based in the Philippines is a good thing for the country and 68 percent assume the US would use military force to defend their country from China,” it added.
“The US has been involved militarily with the Philippines dating back to 1898, when US forces seized the islands in the Spanish-American War. A US military presence remains, despite Filipinos having gained their independence in 1946,” it added. | The Daily Tribune.
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