Duterte doing ‘excellent’ job as president, according to survey

<i>Photo: ABS-CBN News</i>
Photo: ABS-CBN News

A survey released last night by the country’s leading public opinion polling body has found that a majority of Filipinos believe President Rodrigo Duterte is doing an “excellent” job.

According to the Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) 2019 fourth-quarter survey, conducted between Dec. 13 and Dec. 16, 72 percent of adult Filipinos surveyed were satisfied with Duterte’s performance as president — a rating classified by SWS as “excellent” — with only 10 percent dissatisfied and 8 percent undecided. The remaining 10 percent declined to answer.

Duterte’s satisfaction rating climbed seven points from 65 percent in the last survey in September, giving him an average satisfaction rating of 68 percent for 2019 as a whole, a figure classified by the SWS as “very good.”

The survey said 52 percent of respondents expected the president to fulfill most of his promises within his term, while 42 percent believed Duterte will only be able to fulfill a few. Only 5 percent said they thought Duterte would make good on none or almost none of his promises.

Net satisfaction ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte by area, September 2016 to December 2019. Graph: Social Weather Station

Duterte’s satisfaction ratings in the latest survey were highest in his home province and power base of Mindanao, where 81 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with his performance. He scored 79 percent satisfaction in Visayas and 66 percent in both the National Capital Region and the rest of Luzon.

The president’s satisfaction ratings have seemingly been unfazed by what many observers characterize as his administration’s questionable human rights record, his acquiescence to China in the West Philippine Sea, and an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court into his bloody anti-drug campaign, which has left thousands of Filipinos dead.

The public do, however, appear to be concerned about the president’s health, with 72 percent of respondents saying they were “somewhat worried” or “worried a great deal” about the president’s health. A clear majority, 61 percent, said that the president’s health was a matter of public concern, while 37 percent said it was a private matter. The remaining 2 percent didn’t have an opinion on the matter.

The president has been known to vanish from the public eye for weeks due to health issues. Late last year, the 74-year-old had to cut a Japan trip short due to “unbearable pain” in his spinal column caused by a motorcycle accident, and was seen using a cane to walk when he returned. In an apparent effort to dispel concerns, his allies released doctored photos of Duterte on a motorcycle on social media.

The president has also disclosed that he suffers from myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes nerve malfunction. He’s also admitted to having Buerger’s disease, another rare illness that inflames blood vessels in the limbs, which he chalks up to years of smoking in his youth.

The SWS survey was conducted via face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults aged 18 and up — 300 each in Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

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