According to press reports, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval rating continues to skyrocket.
An opinion poll showed recently that despite the devastation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic meltdown facing the country, the President is viewed favorably by Filipinos.
In the Pulse Asia survey, conducted a month ago with in-person interviews numbering 1,200 adult Filipinos, it found that 91% of respondents approved of the President ‘s performance and his personality, up from 87% and 83% respectively in December last year.
The Philippines, one the world’s fastest-growing economies, is forecast to see a 6.9% economic contraction this year, according to the the World Bank the biggest since the 1980s and worse than the government’s projected 5.5% decline.
Ronnie Holmes, president of Pulse Asia, said during a television interview that the overwhelming thumbs-up for Duterte showed the public blamed the decline on the impact of COVID-19 rather than government mishandling.
The survey was conducted in and around the capital Manila, where tight restrictions have been partly loosened to try to revive business activities.
The Philippines leads Southeast Asia with the greatest number of COVID-19 cases and is second to Indonesia in deaths.
The firebrand leader has promised free vaccines, prioritizing first the poor and then the middle class, police, and military personnel.
Duterte, 75, is allowed only a single term as president, but the chance of his allies succeeding him will be bolstered significantly if his popularity remains intact ahead of the 2022 presidential election.
While his opponents chide him for his authoritarian style and low tolerance of dissent, Duterte remains hugely popular because of his man-of-the-people style and a perception of strong leadership and success in fighting crime and corruption.
Marcia Wright, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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