Growing discontent with President Rodrigo Duterte has been pulling down public satisfaction for the Chief Executive this year, church and human rights groups and his critics in Congress said on Wednesday.
“We are not surprised. More and more people including those who have defended him before are speaking out, especially since he has not spared even God in his tirades,” said Fr. Marco Sulayao of the Philippine Independent Church (PIC).
Sulayao, chair of the Promotion of Church People’s Response on Panay Island, said PIC members who supported the President were angered when he called God “stupid” in one of his tirades.
“That drew the line for many. That was too much and we cannot let this pass,” Sulayao said.
A major source of dissatisfaction for the President, Sulayao added, was the sharp increase in the prices of fuel and basic commodities, which the people blame on the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act that the President signed into law last December.
Net satisfaction (satisfied vs dissatisfied), which is used by SWS as a rating of the President’s performance, was down 11 points from the first quarter to +45 in the survey of 1,200 Filipinos conducted in the last week of June. That had dropped from +58 last December.
Reylan Vergara, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, said the decline could also be attributed to the growing alarm among the people over extrajudicial killings and unfulfilled promises.
“More and more people are realizing and being convinced that (Mr.) Duterte’s promises of change, eradicating illegal drugs in six months and ending ‘endo’ (end of contract labor practice) are just that—promises,” Vergara said.
“The quality of life especially of fixed income earners and those receiving the minimum wage have worsened while officials of the administration are being linked to anomalies,” he added.
Duterte myth is gone
Opposition Senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV agreed that rising prices were hurting Filipinos, causing them to become dissatisfied with the President.
“The Duterte myth is gone. The novelty of his crass behavior is gone, too. The people have finally seen the light,” said Trillanes, one of the President’s most strident critics.
Trillanes said the rising prices showed the President was “nothing more than a one-trick pony.”
Aquino urged the President to listen to Filipinos “drowning from the high prices” to halt the TRAIN law.
Waste of political capital
Sen. Ralph Recto said the President should not waste his “political capital.”
“Fighting the Church and calling God stupid is unnecessarily utilizing political capital,” he said.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin cited the President’s “lack of governance and economic management skills” for the people’s dissatisfaction.
“Rising inflation, downturn in investments, rising current account deficits and their associated peso depreciation, and abnormal capital outflows are clear signs of an economic crisis,” Villarin told reporters.
He said the President failed to deliver on “populist promises like ending contractualization, increasing salaries of nonmilitary workers and staving off high prices of basic commodities like rice.”
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said he would not be surprised if the President’s satisfaction rating plunged “further faster” due to continuing price hikes, more killings, unabated contractualization, the President’s “subservience” to the United States and China and the stalled peace talks with communist rebels. —Reports from Nestor P. Burgos, Leila B. Salaverria, Vince F. Nonato and the wires
By the Inquirer Staff / 07:00 AM July 12, 2018
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