4 in 10 Filipinos expect no change in quality of life

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Monday, January 20, 2014

NEARLY five in 10 Filipinos do not see any improvement in their quality of life this year, results of the survey conducted last December by research firm Pulse Asia showed Monday.

Of the 1,200 adult respondents, 45 percent said their personal circumstances will be the same in 2014 while 37 percent expressed optimism and 19 percent thought it will be worse than last year.

In Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, near to small majorities (49 percent to 53 percent) do not foresee any changes in their personal quality of life in the next 12 months.

Optimism was the plurality sentiment in Mindanao (41 percent) while there was a 16-percentage point jump (from 25 percent in September to 41 percent in December) of those looking forward to a better year in the Visayas.

Between September and December 2013, pessimism becomes more pronounced (+8 percentage points) nationwide while there was a decrease in the percentage expecting their personal situation to remain unchanged in the year ahead (-12 percentage points).

Calamities battered the country one after the other during those months.

These include typhoons Santi and Labuyo, the siege in Zamboanga City by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the magnitude-7.2 magnitude earthquake that jolted Bohol and Cebu and Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the world’s strongest storm to hit land in recent years.

Reconstruction and rehabilitation of Visayan communities ravaged by Yolanda alone could take four years, according to government estimate.

On a national perspective, majority of the respondents (55 percent) felt life in the country has worsened in 2013. Thirty six percent said it remained the same from 2012 and nine percent thought it improved.

By comparison, 48 percent of Filipinos said in March 2013 that the national quality of life did not change in the last 12 months, 30 percent said it worsened and 23 percent noted some progress.

From March to December 2013, the percentage of Filipinos who believe that life was not good in the last 12 months increased across geographic areas and socio-economic classes (+14 to 33 and +14 to +30 percentage points, respectively).

Those who identify themselves as “losers” in calamity-stricken Visayas shot up by 28 percentage points, from 35 percent in March to 63 percent in December.

This figure, however, is still below the degree of pessimism articulated by those in the rest of Luzon during that period, from 20 percent to 53 percent.

For 43 percent of Filipinos, the life of most of the countrymen will likely be the same in 2014 while “practically” the same percentage of respondents is either optimistic or pessimistic about the matter (26 percent versus 31 percent).

Despite government pronouncements of above trend growth, half of the Filipino population considered the state of the national economy as having worsened over the last 12 months.

Most of those expressing this view (62 percent) said they were strongly affected by such economic slump while almost the same percentage of those saying that the economy improved year-on-year (11 percent) were somewhat affected by such growth (61 percent).

There was an increase in the percentage of Visayans and members of the poorest of the poor (Class E) who report being strongly affected by the perceived economic deterioration (+27 percent and +21 percent, respectively as compared to June 2013) while a decline was recorded in Class ABC (-23 percent).

Among the events that transpired during the face-to-face interviews from December 8 to 15 were the rising of death toll from Yolanda and rehabilitation efforts in affected provinces, the approval of the P2.265-trillion national budget for 2014 by the bicameral conference committee and the three-phased power rate hike to be implemented by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

The poll has a margin of error of ±3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level while geographic areas (Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ±6 percent error margin, also at the 95 percent confidence level. (Sunnex)

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