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High optimism at start of new administration

THERE is a rising optimism among Filipinos in their views of both the quality of their own lives and the quality of the national economy as a whole.

From the a net +40 in December, 2015, personal optimism rose to +46 – “very high” – in the latest survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) last June 24-27, 2016. The optimism was highest in Metro Manila, +56; followed by Mindanao, +54; Visayas, +42; and the rest of Luzon, +42.

A separate survey on hopes for the economy as a whole resulted in a rating of +56 this June, up from +30 last December. The highest level of optimism over the national economy was in Mindanao, +65; followed by Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, both +50; and Visayas, +32.

The June survey was the first one to be conducted during the new Duterte administration and reflects the people’s high regard for the President himself. A few days after he took his oath of office last June 30, a survey by another poll group, Pulse Asia, found 91 percent of Filipinos affirming their “big trust” in him, with virtually no one – 0.2 percent – distrusting him.

High figures like this usually mark the start of a new administration and as the months and years pass, they are bound to diminish as the government encounters difficulties and fails to meet targets and deadlines. The previous Aquino administration, it may be recalled, also started with high survey figures, buoyed by the hopes with which the nation hailed his victory in the 2010 election.

There are signs that the Duterte administration may yet be different from all the previous ones. Its anti-drug campaign has made such an impact on the nation – so many people of high rank accused and exposed, hundreds of suspects killed, hundreds of thousands coming out to admit their addiction and ask for rehabilitation help. And it is only the first month of the administration.

Attention now turns to many other problems some of which he cited in his State-of-the-Nation Address. But problems have cropped up. The proposed salary increases for policemen cannot be immediately granted because of inadequate funds. The goal of rice self-sufficiency will have to be deferred by a year or two. Peace with Communist rebels may not be achieved immediately as the ceasefire order to the Armed Forces was not reciprocated by the New People’s Army.

A Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass), instead of a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), will be convened to amend the Constitution as a Con-con may take too long and cost too much.

The Duterte administration may lose support from some quarters because of these and other reasons. In succeeding surveys, the figures may dip as in the case of previous administrations. But we continue to hope that the nation will see the broad picture of change and national progress. And will continue to extend its support so that the change and progress, although not as fast as expected, will continue.

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