As usual, the Yellowtards are again in denial over the reality of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s popularity. Their arguments range from idiotic (outright claiming that the Pulse Asia survey that recently revealed this fact is fraudulent) to sour-grapey (survey results don’t solve world hunger). The fact remains that the first approval survey this since COVID-19 hit showed Duterte enjoys a 91 percent approval rating — up from 87 percent reported in December 2019.
This is the first approval ratings report on the government since then and, over that period, it is evident that the Philippine Opposition had seen the COVID-19 pandemic as a blessing to their agenda to seize power — illegally if necessary. In July of this year, Opposition-slanted “social news network” Rappler published a “report” authored by a certain Loreben Tuquero on how this blessing might impact Duterte’s popularity. Tuquero wrote back then that the “experts” predicted that “public favor for the Duterte administration may run out as Filipinos take the brunt of the oncoming economic recession”. Tuquero went on to cite various studies that point to “plummeting” optimism in the Filipino public as the effects of the COVID-19 bore down upon them. Suffice to say, the Opposition were very likely counting on this to crush Duterte’s popularity.
Like the typical Rappler “report”, the expected cast of selected “experts” spring from out of the woodwork…
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According to [University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) political science professor Aries Arugay], the rise in pessimism may mean that the tolerance accorded to Duterte by Filipinos may run out, since the base that is their economic and material well-being has been taken away.
One would hope, right? That is the hope, at least, if you are a Yellowtard (that bloc of partisans loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco clan who presume to “lead” the Opposition) salivating over the prospect of another “people power” coup. This, UP Professor Arugay all but confirms, is where the Yellowtard hope lies…
“[Kung] nagugutom ka, kung wala kang trabaho, kung hindi ka nabibigyan ng ayuda, kung nahihirapan ka pumunta sa work, kung kailangan mong maglakad nang 30 minutes to one hour kasi nga wala nang jeep, will you still tolerate the administration?” Arugay said in a phone interview.
(If you are hungry, if you are jobless, if you are not being given subsidy, if you find it difficult to go to work, if you need to walk 30 minutes to one hour because there are no jeeps, will you still tolerate the administration?)
Given all this “hope” drummed up by the official Yellowtard newsletter, it becomes clear why, today, faced with this much-awaited Pulse Asia report showing Duterte being even more popular, it becomes understandable why Opposition leaders are gnashing their teeth and issuing bitter indictments of its authors. To its credit, Rappler highlighted in its sobering “report” on this Pulse Asia survey outcome (authored by a certain Paterno Esmaquel II) the dismal peformance of presumptive Opposition “leader” Leni Robredo.
In contrast to Duterte, opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo – often compared to New Zealand’s acclaimed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – got the second to the lowest rating among the 5 top officials in the Pulse Asia survey.
Robredo, while heaping praises for her projects and messaging during the pandemic, got a performance rating of 57%. This is a 1% drop from her 58% rating in December 2019.
Beating Robredo in terms of popularity ratings were Senate President Vicente Sotto III with 84%, and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano with 70%.
In light of this, Ateneo de Manila University research fellow and Inquirer columnist Gideon Lasco was evidently so moved as to tweet, “In the middle of a pandemic, the success of a president should be measured in terms of lives and livelihoods – not approval ratings.”
True perhaps. Then again the Philippines is a democracy and one where heads of government are directly elected by popular vote. So one can “measure” a president “in terms of lives and livelihoods” all they want but, ultimately, what determines who gets to be boss is popularity. When a statistically-sound study reveals that 91 percent of Filipinos “approve” of the incumbent, guess what: the only real sensible thing a truly intelligent Opposition could do is come up with a strategy to become more popular by the time the next national elections come around the corner. There’s still time to do that but not much. So, rather than accumulate kulangot in their noses sighing about “lives and livelihoods”, the Opposition’s top “thought leaders” should best be spending their limited time figuring that out.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.