POSTSCRIPT / April 10, 2007 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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SWS dropped as polling partner of ABS-CBN

SWS REPLACED: A big news in the market information industry is the dropping of the Social Weather Stations by the giant ABS-CBN network as its partner in conducting surveys and exit polls for the May elections.

ABS-CBN’s decision reportedly came after SWS parted ways with Trends, the independent research outfit that had been doing the field work (including the interviewing of respondents) for SWS.

Trends is the local affiliate of Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), the world’s third biggest conglomerate engaged in communication and market research. Industry sources said Trends had been the research backbone of SWS.

For polling projects related to the May elections, ABS-CBN has reportedly replaced SWS with Pulse Asia.

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INSIDE JOB: To do credible surveys, SWS will have look for a good or better replacement for Trends. If it decides to do the field work itself, SWS runs the risk of making its polling, especially those involving election trends, look like an “inside job.”

Unknown to most people, big survey firms usually do not do the dirty work, or the interviewing of respondents and gathering of data. For that, they contract an experienced research outfit — Trends in the previous case of SWS — and just do the analysis of the data collated.

Some small companies also tap communication research students, who work on projects for a pittance and some academic credits under their professors who are friends of the survey firms.

And then, there are some companies that do “table surveys.” This involves playing with numbers to support or justify pre-conceived survey results that clients pay for or which the survey firms peddle or float for business or political reasons.

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T.U. MNEMONIC: As memory aid for voters, the administration Team Unity has created a campaign mnemonic — Mas Para sa Kidz Mo.

Compare this with the Genuine Opposition’s “Plant a Lover” — which naughty kibitzers said must have been inspired by former President Erap Estrada’s colorful love life.

The TU mnemonic, as spelled out, uses the letters in the candidates’ surnames: Vicente Magsaysay, Chavit Singson, Prospero Pichay, Edgardo Angara, Ralph Recto, Joker Arroyo, Vicente Sotto III, Tessie Aquino-Oreta, Sultan Jamalul Kiram, Michael Defensor, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Cesar Montano.

President Gloria Arroyo pointed out in the recent Lakas national convention that MAS stands for Magsaysay and Singson, the two governors representing local governments; PARA SA for Pichay, Angara, Recto, Arroyo, Sotto and Oreta — the six veteran lawmakers on the slate; KI for Kiram, the elder statesman of Sulu; DZ for Defensor and Zubiri, the youth representatives in the ticket; and MO for Montano, who is a class of his own.

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‘8 BY 08’ AGENDA: Picking up the mnemonic on her birthday last Thursday, the President said her wish was for unity, prosperity and to “invest in the future and the young people.” She reiterated her commitment to “make the economy globally competitive not only for today’s Filipinos but also for the – future generations of leaders.”

Thus, she said, “MAS PARA SA KIDS MO” is appropriate as Team Unity’s campaign mnemonic because “it mirrors the administration’s hopes and aspirations for the country’s children.”

Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, TU media director, added that the mnemonic encapsulates the coalition’s economic agenda and its bets’ resolve to “push economic growth and spread its fruits via a legislative agenda in the next Congress supportive of President Arroyo’s ‘8 by ‘08’ agenda.”

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GSIS eCARDS: The Government Service Insurance System is discovering how difficult it is to please everybody.

Starting last January, it adopted a new system enabling pensioners to get their monthly pension from the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in convenient locations throughout the country through the GSIS eCard Plus.

For those who have the eCard already (they comprise 87 percent of GSIS members), the new system means hassle-free, secured and prompt receipt of monthly pensions, as well as the withdrawal of loan proceeds through ATMs.

But for the remaining 13 percent who have not been initiated into the electronic age, there is some grumbling. They miss the paper checks that they had grown accustomed to. For some there is simply the resistance to something novel.

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ECARDS VS CHECKS: It has not been easy running after a 100-percent total coverage, but GSIS President and General Manager Winston Garcia said that with a little more patience — and understanding from members and pensioners — they would get there.

The GSIS is sending medical and administrative personnel to home-visit the old and the infirm, and facilitate their acquiring their magic eCards.

But for those who can still walk and travel, the GSIS says that their physical presence is necessary to establish their identity, and get their photographs and their fingerprints scanned. The photo and fingerprint biometrics will be imprinted on the eCard to ensure its authenticity.

The GSIS explains the advantages of the eCard over the obsolete paper check system. Checks are sometimes delayed in the mail, or pilfered and cashed by persons other than the payee.

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PENSIONERS IN U.S.: Some members still do not realize that even after receiving a check, a pensioner has to go to a bank to have it cashed. And as the check has to clear, the payee will have to wait three days to get his cash.

Some pensioners complain that they have to report to a GSIS office annually to prove they are still alive and to establish their residence. The GSIS explains that this is necessary because in the past some checks had been fraudulently cashed by non-payees.

Pensioners in the United States can apply for their eCard Plus from the GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS) kiosk in the Philippine consulate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Once they receive their eCards, they can withdraw their pensions in US dollars from any ATM under the Visa Plus networks.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of April 10, 2007)

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