The Rice Terraces Strike Back

Filipinos are still aware of  what’s happening in their country and they still know what they want or not want. In the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) they sent the president diving. But as we have observed in her SONA 2008 she’s not to be blamed for her abrupt decline in this satisfaction rating but the rising rice and fuel prices!
To quote the presidential management chief Cerge Remonde, “President Arroyo’s -38  net satisfaction rating may have been the result of the rising rice and fuel prices in the country, …which should not be blamed on the government.” ( I have been observing how lousy are the people employed as presidential or mayor spokesmen in our country- no creativity in giving out statements about their bosses, that they mostly  damage their bosses instead of defending them adequately!) Filipinos may be generally poor economically but they still have good memory. They have not forgotten the scandals of this president- the election fraud-related hello garci tape, the ZTE scam, the human rights violations (killings  of investigative journalists, human rights activists and patriotic student leaders soared high in this regime ) the diversion of fertilizer funds, the Jueting scandals of Mr. Arroyo and this NFA rice rationing which is powered not by love for the poor but a sheer taking advantage of the world food and fuel crises to polish her image. And now this latest move to push the cha-cha (charter change) along with the switch to federalism with the aim of bringing a long lasting solution to the insurgency problem in Mindanao. All these things are clothed with her ambition of staying longer in power which is possible scenario to happen once her proposed Constituent Assembly would come into being because this would have the unlimited freedom to amend and revise one or two provisions of the constitution- to her advantage. Mr. Pimentel and Co. should only be watchful that their authored Senate Resolution No. 10 (Federalism)  will not be misused by the admiminstration. You know after all the mess she had done before and during these actual difficult times of food and fuel crises, it is just right that she goes diving now and stay down there unti 2010 to give our country the chance to grow. The people want a decent figure now at the top to lead the country out of this dead-end. If ever I would be asked about  the prime advantage of Federalism in the Philippines I would point out the reduction of the powers of the president. Our presidents with enormous powers have always been a burden to our country for the last four decades. Too much power corrupts the mind of man.
Remonde opined that “such an assessment of Mrs Arroyo is unfair  …  it’s never easy to be president of the Philippines”.  To become a president was easy, just a hello to garci, and that was it, she got her second term. But she should not expect an easy dasein as a president after all the deception and scandals she has caused herself and her husband. Remonde was not being fair here. And to blame not only the food and fuel crises but also the typhoon Frank for Arroyo’s very low net satisfaction rating is absurdity. Frank was not born yet when journalists and student leaders were being harrassed or killed in the Philippines, or when Arroyo was calling Garci and when Garci himself disappeared.
To make the matter worst, deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo doubled by saying she was  “not surprised with the net satisfaction rating because the country is plagued by several problems… these problems are not within the government’s control.” Not within the government’s control? The real problem was and is Arroyo and she controls the government, therefore, how can the government control the problem? How can Arroyo control herself when the mind has long been corrupted by too much power?
To sum it up, Fajardo said, “It is lonely at the top. Where else shall the people look for relief but from the president and government? The dissatisfaction does not come as a surprise. As a country, we are all suffering from the world economic downturn, factors beyond our control have seriously assaulted our economy and our way of life”. I don’t know if you would hire Lorelei Fajardo  as your spokesperson if you would be the first president or prime minister of the Federal Republic of the Philippines. The fact beyond control that asssaulted our economy and our way of life and, If I may add, the image of our nation abroad for decades by now were our very own powerful presidents made possible by our unitary sytem of government. Green light then for Federalism, for the State of Bicol ? I would say yes, but exercise caution  as we cross the road. 
jun asuncion
Here is the report:

18 July 2008

Second Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey:
PGMA’s net rating falls to record-low -38

Social Weather Stations

The Social Weather Survey of June 27-30, 2008 found 22% satisfied and 60% dissatisfied with the performance of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, giving her a Net Satisfaction rating of -38 (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied), which is a new record-low for Presidents since 1986, surpassing the previous record of -33 in May 2005.

The new net rating is a 12-point drop from net -26 (27% satisfied, 54% dissatisfied) in the First Quarter 2008 Survey of March 28-31 [Chart 1, Table 1]. It is the fourth consecutive quarterly drop in her net rating since June 2007, when it was a neutral -3.

In all areas, majorities are dissatisfied

For the first time, gross dissatisfaction is at majority levels in all study areas: 63% in Metro Manila, 60% in the Balance of Luzon, 56% in the Visayas, and 62% in Mindanao.

The President’s net satisfaction rating in the Visayas, where she customarily draws her strongest support, fell by 18 points from -15 in March (36% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied) to a record-low -33 in June (23% satisfied, 56% dissatisfied) [Table 2, also Chart 2, Table 3].

In Mindanao, it fell by 8 points, from -33 (26% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) to -41 (21% satisfied, 62% dissatisfied), also a new record-low for the area.

Her net satisfaction ratings fell by 13 points in Balance Luzon, from -25 (26% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied) to -38 (22% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied), and by 3 points in Metro Manila, from -37 (23% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied) to -40 (23% satisfied, 63% dissatisfied). The existing record-lows in those areas are -47 (May 2005) in Balance Luzon and -48 (June 2006) in Metro Manila.

Between March 2008 and June 2008, President Arroyo’s net rating fell by 11 points in both urban and rural areas: the former from -27 to -38, the latter from -26 to -37.

Ratings hit record-lows in all socio-economic classes

The June 2008 survey found dissatisfaction worsening in all socio-economic classes, with the middle-to-upper classes or ABCs just as dissatisfied now as the masa or class D.

The net satisfaction rating of Pres. Arroyo fell the most among the middle-to-upper classes or ABCs. It fell by 23 points, from -14 (34% satisfied, 48% dissatisfied) last March to -37 (22% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) in June [Chart 3, Table 4]. The previous record-low for ABCs was -34 in May 2005. It had been positive in February, June and September 2007, when the ratings for the lower D and E classes were negative or zero.

Her net rating fell by 11 points among the class D or masa, from net -24 in March (28% satisfied, 52% dissatisfied) to net -35 in June (23% satisfied, 58% dissatisfied). The previous record-low for Class D was -34, also in May 2005.

The President’s net rating fell by 8 points in Class E, from net -37 in March (23% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied) to -45 in June (20% satisfied, 65% dissatisfied). The previous record-low for Class E was -37 in March 2008.

Survey Background

The Second Quarter of 2008 Social Weather Survey was conducted over June 27-30, 2008 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% for area percentages). The area estimates were weighted by National Statistics Office medium-population projections for 2008 to obtain the national estimates.

The quarterly Social Weather Survey on public satisfaction with the President is a non-commissioned item, and is included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service, with first printing rights assigned to BusinessWorld.