POSTSCRIPT / July 21, 2019 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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Livelihood issues top SONA interest

LATEST surveys indicate that most Filipinos want to hear tomorrow in the State of the Nation Address of President Duterte an assurance that everything is well, or turning out to be, especially with household livelihood concerns.

Gut issues directly affecting households appear to loom bigger than foreign relations problems in the consciousness of most Filipinos, especially among those who Vice President Leni Robredo describes as hanging on to the laylayan (hem) or fringes of society.

Surveys show that creating more jobs (15.2 percent), raising wages (17.1%) and reducing prices of basic goods (17.1%) – in short, livelihood — are the top issues most Filipinos would “most like” to hear from Duterte in whom they have renewed their trust by giving him a grade of 80-85 percent.

In separate nationwide surveys of 1,200 adult Filipinos in June to cap the second quarter, Social Weather Stations reported an 80-percent satisfaction rating for Duterte, while Pulse Asia had an 85-percent approval and trust rating for him.

Malacañang said earlier that the SONA will likely dwell on peace and order, infrastructure building and poverty reduction. The President has also said he will use his address to “educate” the critics of his “verbal” agreement with China to allow Chinese to fish in Philippine waters.

The Pulse Asia survey indicated that economics influences the anxieties of most socio-economic classes. While Metro Manila respondents want Duterte to explain his China policies, the top concern in the rest of Luzon is on workers’ wages, and in the Visayas and Mindanao on price increases.

Nationwide, one in every 10 Filipinos (9.2 percent) would like Duterte to clarify his China stance, with 6.1 percent saying the Philippines should assert its sovereign rights over the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone where Chinese have been intruding.

Other interests mentioned in the Pulse Asia survey were: curbing the spread of illegal drugs (7.8 percent), improving agriculture (5.9%), alleviating poverty (2.5%), fighting corruption (1.6%), building infrastructure (0.5%) and protecting human rights (0.3%).

 US up, China down in trust ratings

ANOTHER nationwide SWS survey June 22-26 found that while Filipinos’ trust in the United States keeps rising, their trust in China has been dropping.

Polling a nationwide sample of 1,200 adults, the SWS found that 51 percent of Filipinos have “little trust” in China against 27 percent who have “much trust” in it — for a net trust rating of -24, classified by the pollster as “poor.”

China’s net trust rating in the second quarter was down 18 points from the “neutral” -6 in the previous quarter (March 2019), and the lowest since the “bad” -35 in June 2018.

On the statement “Most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for the Filipinos,” four in every 10 Filipinos (43 percent) polled disagreed. Only 27 percent agreed, while 30 percent were undecided.

This resulted in a net agreement score of -16, classified by SWS as “moderately weak,” similar to China’s net -17 in December 2018.

On the other hand, the survey found 81 percent had “much trust” in the US, against only eight percent who said they had “little trust” in the country — for a net trust rating of “excellent” +73. The remaining 11 percent were undecided.

This “excellent” net rating of the US was up 13 points from the “very good” +60 in March 2019, and the highest since a similar “excellent” +74 in September 2015.

The poll showed that 55 percent agreed with the statement “Most of what the American government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for the Filipinos.” Only 17 percent disagreed.

The net result was a “very strong” agreement score of +39, up 31 points from the “neutral” +8 in December 2005, and the highest since the record-high “very strong” +40 in May 1986. The remaining 28 percent were undecided.

In the same second quarter SWS survey, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Malaysia also received “good” trust ratings.

 Aeta janitress at Clark returns $1,000

THE ENVELOPE with $1,000 that an Aeta janitress found July 14 in the departure area of Clark International Airport in Pampanga was returned to the grateful owner Thursday.

The traveler, Valle Teves, met the airport worker Grace Laxamana , 42, in the office of CIAC President/CEO Jaime Alberto Melo, who gave Laxamana a certificate of commendation and a small cash reward for her honesty.

Laxamana said she noticed an envelope left on a chair in the international departure area at about 2:50 p.m. that day. In it were 10 pieces of $100 bills.

“I immediately turned over the envelope to airport operations officer Raymund Salazar who examined the contents,” she said.

A review of the CCTV footage of departing travelers that afternoon showed a passenger dropping a white envelope while about to board Cebu Pacific flight 5371 bound for Singapore.

“We’re proud of what Ms. Laxamana did,” Melo said. “Her honesty is even more glaring since what she found was an untraceable envelope.  Her good deed is truly worthy of emulation by all airport personnel.”

Laxamana started working at Clark airport in 2006 as janitress, performing chores that enable her to observe if anything, such as unattended luggage, is left lying around. Such items could also be security concerns so they are reported and checked immediately.

Melo said it is Clark policy to give jobs to members of indigenous peoples, some of whom are Aetas living in nearby IP communities.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 21, 2019)

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