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Asean Affairs   23  January 2014

55% of Filipinos believe quality of life worsened

Inquirer Research

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Despite the country’s high economic growth, most Filipinos considered their quality of life, both at the national and personal levels, to have worsened in the previous 12 months, results of a Pulse Asia survey last December showed.

They also expected the situation to remain the same for the whole of 2014.

The majority of Filipinos (55 per cent) said the national quality of life deteriorated in the past 12 months, while 36 per cent said the national situation remained unchanged. Nine per cent said it improved.
Pulse Asia interviewed 1,200 adults all over the country from December 8 to 15. The survey has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points at the 95-per-cent confidence level.
The figures last month differed significantly from those recorded in March 2013, Pulse Asia said.

Back then, 48 per cent of Filipinos saw no change in the national quality of life in the previous 12 months. Thirty per cent said it deteriorated and 23 per cent noted an improvement.

From March to December last year, the percentage of Filipinos who said that the national quality of life worsened in the previous 12 months increased across geographic areas—ranging from 14 percentage points to 33 points; and among socioeconomic groups—ranging from 14 points to 30 points.

Except for Metro Manila where 54 per cent said there was a lack of movement in the situation of most Filipinos, the sentiment that the national quality of life deteriorated was shared by “near to sizeable majorities” across geographic areas (53 per cent to 63 per cent) and socioeconomic classes (48 per cent to 58 per cent).

During the same period, the percentage of Filipinos who said the national situation was better declined in Metro Manila (26 percentage points), the Visayas (19 percentage points), rest of Luzon (16 percentage points), Class ABC (18 percentage points) and Class D (15 percentage points).

The opinion that the national quality of life remained unchanged eased in the rest of Luzon (17 percentage points), Mindanao (16 percentage points) and Class D (15 percentage points).

Yolanda, Meralco rate hike
Among the developments before and during the survey were the rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by the Super Typhoon Yolanda, the approval of the 2.26-trillion-peso (US$50 billion) national budget by the bicameral conference committee, and the investigation by the Department of Justice and Department of Energy of the simultaneous shutdowns of power plants that resulted in Manila Electric Co.’s petition for a three-phased hike in its rates.

Forty-three per cent of Filipinos expected no change in the quality of life of their countrymen in the next 12 months, down 9 points from 52 per cent in March.

Pulse Asia noted almost the same percentage of Filipinos who were either optimistic (26 per cent) or pessimistic (31 per cent) about the national quality of life.

Pessimism up 18 points
Compared with the March 2013 figures, however, pessimism was up by 18 percentage points last month; while optimism was down by 9 percentage points.

According to the survey, most Filipinos also considered their personal quality of life either to have worsened (43 per cent) or remained unchanged (41 per cent) in the previous 12 months.

Compared with the September figures, the percentage who viewed a worse personal quality of life rose 8 points; while those who neither observed positive nor negative change declined 6 points.

Fifteen per cent said they were in a better situation last month than a year ago, down 3 points from September.

Between September and December, the increase in percentage of losers was highest in the Visayas, up by 22 points (from 38 per cent to 60 per cent).

The area also recorded the biggest drop in the percentage of those whose quality of life remained unchanged in the previous 12 months, down 16 points (from 45 per cent to 29 per cent).

Meanwhile, “near to small majorities” in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon (47 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively) viewed their quality of life last month as being the same as it was a year ago, while most Filipinos in Mindanao viewed themselves as worse off (48 per cent).

Class ABC biggest losers
Among socioeconomic groups, Class ABC had the biggest increase in the percentage of losers (up 27 percentage points) and biggest decline of those who viewed their personal situation unchanged in the previous 12 months (down 28 points).

Pulse Asia noted almost the same percentages of either losers (42 per cent to 44 per cent) or those who did not experience any change in their personal situation (34 per cent to 42 per cent) across all other socioeconomic classes.

Almost half of Filipinos (45 per cent) expected no change in their personal quality life in the next 12 months, down 12 points from 57 per cent in September.

Optimism was more pronounced than pessimism (37 per cent versus 19 per cent), but pessimism increased by 8 points from 11 per cent.

Those in the Visayas and Mindanao were more optimistic, with 41 per cent in both areas expecting to be better off in the coming year.
Optimism was more marked in the Visayas, up by 16 percentage points (from 25 per cent to 41 per cent). Meanwhile, there was a decline of 18 percentage points for Visayans who expected their personal situation to remain the same (from 60 per cent to 42 per cent).

Among those who said that the national economy had deteriorated the past year, 62 per cent said they “strongly felt” the deterioration. Thirty-three percent said they felt it “somewhat.” Only 5 per cent said they did not feel it at all.

Impact of economic growth
The gross domestic product, the value of goods produced and services rendered, in the first nine months of 2013 rose 7.4 per cent, among the fastest in the region.

Among those who said that the economy had grown, 61 per cent said they felt this growth “somewhat” in their personal lives, while 29 per cent said they “strongly felt” it. Ten per cent said they did not feel the growth at all.

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