MANILA – The Filipinos’ love for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remains despite a sharp drop in his satisfaction and trust ratings, the chief executive’s spokesman said on Monday, October 9.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the decline in Duterte’s rating was “expected” after more than one year in the office, as the administration’s so-called “honeymoon period” with the public has ended.
“These things usually happen. This is traditionally happening after a year, a year and a half, and you know, the love is still there,” Abella pointed out.
The latest survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that Duterte’s net satisfaction rating has dropped 18 points from +66 or “very good” rating in June 2017 to +48 or “good” in September 2017.
Duterte’s net trust rating likewise suffered a 15-point drop from the previous +75 or “excellent” rating in June to +60 or “very good” in September.
According to Abella, the decline occurred as the public started to manage their expectations and wait for Duterte to deliver “the full spectrum of public services” he promised during the last year’s campaign period.
“Some people during this particular honeymoon period, their expectations were high, and the actual wait for the implementation of these things may have led to the dip,” the Palace official explained.
He also referred the survey results as snapshots of the public’s sentiment on the government’s performance, pointing out as it was conducted between September 23 and 27 or just days after the National Day of Protest.
Duterte has declared September 21 as the National Day of Protest, allowing citizens“to freely vent their grievances about the excesses and shortcomings of the government.”
“Some sentiments may have spilled over,” Abella said.
In spite of the decline, Abella emphasized that the “people are still, in general, still satisfied.”
The Palace official likewise assured the public that the government would “continue to work harder to address the public’s urgent needs in order to bring a comfortable life for all.”
“We enjoin everyone to set aside self-interest and together build a nation worthy of the next generation,” Abella added.
‘Filipinos beginning to see light’
In a statement, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV welcomed the decline in the chief executive’s ratings.
“It’s very encouraging to know that the Filipino people are beginning to see the light. They are now seeing Duterte for who he really is: a lying, rude, amoral, corrupt and oppressive former mayor who is totally incompetent about governance at the national level,” said Trillanes.
“Worse, his bloody war on drugs has killed thousands of his own people and created a climate of fear across the country,” added the senator, who has been among the president’s fiercest critics.
Trillanes said he expects the next survey results “to be worse” as it was conducted before the Ombudsman announced its investigation on the president’s supposed ill-gotten wealth.
For Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, the drop in Duterte’s ratings should serve as a “wake-up call.”
“Certainly this is a wake-up call… Sa akin self-inflicted ngunit ito’y isang survey lamang (To me, this is self-inflicted but this is just one survey). I will not pass judgment until the next one or two surveys because that will show the trend,” Drilon told reporters in an interview.
He also added that the government “must better take a second look at their policies and the way they enforce their policies.”
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, downplayed the ratings decline.
Likening the survey results to a basketball match, Sotto said what’s more important would be the president’s ratings at the end of his term.
“Sa survey mismo, matagal na ako diyan, every week halos nagpapalit ang opinyon ng tao. Gano’n talaga ‘yan. (I’ve been familiar with surveys for a long time. Almost every week, people’s opinions change. That’s how it is.)” he said.
Sotto went on to say, “Six years ang binigay sa kanyang mandate eh. Parang basketball ‘yan – ‘yung three points pinapalakpakan pero ‘pag naagawan malungkot. Gano’n din ‘yan. Ang importante ‘yung last quarter [kung] ano’ng score. After 6 years saka maja-judge si President Duterte, hindi ngayon. (He was given a mandate of 6 years. It’s just like basketball – when a player scores three points, we cheer, but when the ball is stolen, we get disappointed. That’s how it is. What’s important is his score in the last quarter. We can only judge President Duterte after 6 years, not now.)”