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SWS: 78% of Filipinos satisfied with Philippine democracy

MANILA, Philippines — Almost eight of 10 Filipino adults are satisfied with the way democracy works in the country, a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.


The First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey, conducted from March 23 to 27, found 78 percent of adult Filipinos have expressed satisfaction with the way democracy works.

However, this was two points below the 80 percent in June 2017, and similar to the 79 percent in June 2016.

The release of the survey coincided with the country’s commemoration of its 120th Independence Day yesterday.

Satisfaction with the way democracy works has been above 60 percent since June 2010, ranging from 64 percent to 86 percent, SWS said.

The SWS March 2018 poll also found 60 percent of adults who say democracy is always preferable to any other form of government.

The proportion of adult Filipinos that said “democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government” hardly moved from 61 percent in June 2017 to 60 percent in March 2018.

It has been above 50 percent since February 2009, reaching a record-high 65 percent in June 2013, the pollster noted.

Nineteen percent of respondents answered that “under some circumstances, an authoritarian government can be preferable to a democratic one.”

This was similar to the 19 percent in September 2016. It has been below 20 percent for five consecutive quarters since December 2015.

Twenty-one percent of them, meanwhile, said, “for people like me, it does not matter whether we have a democratic or a non-democratic regime,” up a point from 20 percent in June 2017.
SWS said the question on “satisfaction in the way democracy works” originated in the Eurobarometer surveys and is also in standard use in Latin American and Asian barometer projects.

According to the SWS, satisfaction with the way democracy works had peaks of 70 percent in September 1992, 70 percent in July 1998, 68 percent in June 2010 and the record-high 86 percent in September 2016, related to the successful presidential elections of 1992, 1998, 2010 and 2016, respectively.

The previous record of 80 percent in June 2013 was achieved after the May 2013 senatorial elections.

In contrast, satisfaction with the way democracy works fell to 44 percent in June 2004, after the presidential election of that year, the SWS said.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults, 18 years old and above, nationwide.

The SWS survey showing that 78 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with democracy under President Duterte baffles opposition Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr.

“This is indeed perplexing. Clearly, there is a need to educate Filipinos about how true democracy works – where rule of law is held paramount, where institutions are strong and free from interference and where opportunities for economic and political power are enjoyed not only by a few elite,” he said yesterday.

He said a majority of the respondents apparently felt that “expressions of dissent, transparency and accountability are not important in their definition of democracy.”

“The failures of liberal democracy in the past should not cloud our judgment on democracy. Let’s remember that many of the things we enjoy now are also products of our democratic awakening. Democracy is not at fault here. It depends on how we mold it. I still believe it is an ideal that we can strive for,” he said.

Another opposition congressman, Gary Alejano of Magdalo, said the SWS survey proves that “Filipinos are indeed freedom-loving citizens.”

“In spite of propaganda to discredit democracy and suggestions of an authoritarian form of government by current leaders, the Filipino people keep their faith on the ideals and values of democracy,” he said.

He said democracy is far from ideal in the country.

“There are still killings and human rights violations in the war on drugs, political persecution of critics of the administration, corruption in government, subservience to external pressures, inaction to foreign encroachment in our territory, poor labor conditions for workers and Filipino families suffering due to uncontrolled inflation and oppressive tax system,” he said.

He added that the challenge is for the administration to make the situation better for Filipinos.

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