Despite his refusal to criticize China over the West Philippine Sea boat sinking incident, President Rodrigo Duterte is still the most trusted government official in the Philippines, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey released today.
Conducted from June 24 to 30, the survey report revealed that Duterte earned an 85 percent trust rating among respondents, the same trust rating he received in Pulse Asia’s March survey. His highest trust rating came from Mindanao (91 percent), where his hometown of Davao City is located. Based on economic status, he scored the highest trust rating among class E respondents (86 percent).
Duterte also received the highest performance rating among government officials, with 85 percent of Filipinos approving his performance. His highest performance rating also came from Mindanao (91 percent) and class E (87 percent). However, his latest performance rating was two points lower than the 87 percent he received in Pulse Asia’s March survey.
The positive feedback comes despite recent controversies the president has had to face.
Duterte has been called a “coward” by critics after he repeatedly downplayed the West Philippine Sea boat sinking incident, where a Filipino fishing boat was smashed and sunkby a Chinese-owned vessel near Recto Bank (aka Reed Bank) early last month. He was also accused of committing an impeachable offense when he admitted that he made a deal with President Xi Jinping that allows the Chinese to fish in Recto Bank. He said he did this so that Filipinos, in turn, could fish in Scarborough Shoal, an area which both the Philippines and China are claiming.
Duterte supporter Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto also did well in the survey and received a 73 percent trust rating and 77 percent approval rating from respondents. This, even though he became the object of ridicule last month after he reacted to the boat sinking incident and said that it was fine for Chinese fishermen to encroach on Philippine territory because some of the fish in the country’s waters could be from China.
Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, received a 52 percent trust rating and a 55 percent approval rating. Supreme Court Justice Lucas Bersamin received a 35 percent trust rating and a 41 percent approval rating.
Trailing behind all of them is former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives when the survey was taken. Arroyo, another Duterte ally, received a 22 percent trust rating and a 26 percent approval rating.
Arroyo’s presidency from 2011 to 2010 was marked by numerous controversies including election fraud and corruption, which eventually led to her arrest from a hospital room in 2011. However, she was acquitted by the Supreme Court on July 2016, shortly after Duterte took office. She ended her third and last term as Pampanga congresswoman last month.
Pulse Asia interviewed 1,200 respondents aged 18 years old and above for the survey. Aside from the West Philippine Sea boat sinking incident and Duterte’s declaration of his deal with Xi, other events that occurred before and while the survey was being conducted were the resignation of top officials from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation over the “ghost dialysis” controversy and the protests of public school teachers demanding the government to increase their salary.