POSTSCRIPT / December 26, 2004 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Big Business not that satisfied with Arroyo

LET CHRIST IN: A Blessed Christmas to all, even to those who do not believe in it.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy. It saddens me to see many people, including close friends, caught in the stressful preparation for the commercialized celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Whatever… let us slow down, cast off crass materialism and meditate — to give the true spirit of Christmas a chance to radiate into our lives.

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NOT SATISFIED: The latest survey indicates that the Arroyo administration will have to reprogram and improve its performance in the coming year to arrest the decline in its satisfaction rating with the business community.

With President Arroyo having won a fresh mandate in the May elections and clinched majority control of Congress, most businessmen had expected her to pursue vigorously key programs to move the country forward.

The yearend survey conducted Dec. 8–15 among the major business associations in the country showed that by the end of the first six months of the Arroyo term, those expectations had not been met.

Almost half (43 percent) of the respondents said they were “somewhat dissatisfied” with the first six months of Ms Arroyo. Another 32.6 percent said they were “extremely dissatisfied” and about one-fifth (21.6 percent) responded they were “somewhat satisfied.”

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PROBLEM AREAS: The areas that brought out the most dissatisfaction were population (64.9 percent saying the government was not doing enough or nothing at all), corruption (58.8 percent), infrastructure (50.9 percent), and smuggling (48.5 percent).

The survey was conducted among members of the American Chamber of Commerce, Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Makati Business Club, and the Management Association of the Philippines.

A total of 291 executives responded to the survey. Majority was from top management (83.8 percent) and Filipino (69.1 percent). Over 3,000 members of the associations they represent were also polled using the same survey instrument.

Almost two-thirds (62.2 percent) of the respondents were engaged in services while 22.7 percent were into manufacturing. Over 40 percent had annual revenues over P500 million or more, while 30.9 percent had an annual turnover of less than P100 million. Over 40 percent employed fewer than 100 workers while 22.3 percent employed 100 to 299 workers and another 20.6 percent employed 500 to 999 workers.

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CABINET RATED: Over 40 percent of the respondents said they wanted Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA-3) opened in 2005. The government took over the terminal this week armed with a writ of possession from a regional court.

Roads, power, and the South Luzon Expressway were also listed by many respondents as infrastructure projects to pursue in 2005. The Department of Trade and Industry has said that work will begin early next year on the repair of the Alabang viaduct, South Luzon Expressway extension, and the STAR tollway extension to Batangas City.

The businessmen also said that the government was doing barely enough in pushing fiscal reforms (51.2 percent of respondents), attracting investments (50.5 percent), solving the peace and order problem (46.4 percent); and carrying out its counter-insurgency policy (41.9 percent).

They were generally dissatisfied with appointments to Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions. Those who rated low were Tourism Secretary Ace Durano (19.2 percent), PEA chairman Ramon Revilla Sr. (17.5 percent), and Environment Secretary Mike Defensor (10.6 percent).

The officials who rated high were Trade and Industry Secretary Cesar Purisima (31.6 percent), Energy Secretary Vince Perez (9.3 percent), and Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman (7.6 percent).

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FOREIGN RELATIONS: A bright area was foreign affairs. Almost half (47.8 percent) of the respondents said they were “somewhat satisfied” with the President’s international relations policy, while another 4.8 percent said they were “extremely satisfied” with it.

Both Congress and the Senate fared poorly in the assessment of business executives. Over 80 percent of respondents said they were either “somewhat or extremely dissatisfied” with the performance of the House and Senate with respect to the legislative agenda.

Overall, the survey results indicate the need for renewed focus on key issues, better implementation of programs, and stronger teamwork within the Cabinet and between Malacanang and Congress.

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Q & A: These were the survey questions, followed by the scores:

  1. Are you satisfied with the performance of the GMA Administration in the first six months of its second term?

Extremely dissatisfied — 32.6; Somewhat dissatisfied — 43.0; Somewhat dissatisfied — 21.6; Extremely satisfied — 1.7.

  1. Is the GMA Administration doing enough to push fiscal reforms to avert further fiscal crisis?

Not enough/Nothing at all — 35.7; Barely enough — 51.2; Making adequate progress — 12.0; Meeting its objectives — 1.0.

  1. Is the GMA Administration doing enough to attract investments?

Not enough/Nothing at all — 31.3; Barely enough — 50.5; Making adequate progress — 17.2; Meeting its objectives — 1.0.

  1. Are you satisfied with the GMA Administration’s international relations?

Extremely dissatisfied — 10.3; Somewhat dissatisfied — 35.7; Somewhat satisfied — 47.8; Extremely satisfied — 4.8.

  1. Are you satisfied with the GMA Administration’s counter-insurgency policy?

Extremely dissatisfied — 14.1; Somewhat dissatisfied — 41.9; Somewhat satisfied — 40.5; Extremely satisfied — 1.7.

  1. Is the GMA Administration doing enough to address the population issue?

Not enough/Nothing at all — 64.9; Barely enough — 27.1; Making adequate progress — 5.2; Meeting its objectives — 1.7.

  1. Is the GMA Administration doing enough to fix the infrastructural problems?

Not enough/Nothing at all — 50.9; Barely enough — 40.2; Making progress — 8.2; Meeting its adequate objectives — 0.3.

  1. In order of importance, which infrastructural problem would you like to see fixed in 2005?

Airport/NAIA-3 42.3; Roads 38.8; Power 27.5; South Luzon Expressway 20.3.

  1. Is the GMA Administration doing enough to curb smuggling?

Not enough/Nothing at all — 48.5; Barely enough — 40.9; Making adequate progress — 8.9; Meeting its objectives — 1.0.

  1. Is the GMA Administration doing enough to address the peace-and-order problem?

Not enough/Nothing at all — 19.6; Barely enough — 46.4; Making adequate progress — 30.9; Meeting its objectives — 2.1.

  1. Are you satisfied with the appointments of GMA to various Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions?

Extremely dissatisfied — 16.5; Somewhat dissatisfied — 50.9; Somewhat satisfied — 29.6; Extremely satisfied — 0.3.

  1. Which appointments are you satisfied with?

Purisima (DTI), 31.6; Perez (DoE), 9.3; Soliman (DSWD), 7.6.

  1. Which appointments are you dissatisfied with?

Durano (DoT), 19.2; Revilla (PEA), 17.5; Defensor (DENR), 10.6.

  1. Are you satisfied with the performance of the House of Representatives with respect to the legislative agenda?

Extremely dissatisfied — 51.2; Somewhat dissatisfied — 34.4; Somewhat satisfied — 10.0; Extremely satisfied — 0.3.

  1. Are you satisfied with the performance of the Senate with respect to the legislative agenda?

Extremely dissatisfied — 47.4; Somewhat dissatisfied — 36.4; Somewhat satisfied — 12.4; Extremely satisfied — 0.3.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 26, 2004)

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