Hunger and Poverty, Dissatisfaction, and Absence of Justice Reveal the True State of the Nation

Widespread hunger and poverty, broad dissatisfaction, and the absence of justice belie any claim of accomplishments that the Arroyo government is hard-selling on the people.

Vol. VIII, No. 25, July 27-August 2, 2008

Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would be delivering the 7th State of the Nation Address (SONA) of her administration on July 28. (It is actually her eight but her 2001 SONA covered five and a half months of the Estrada administration.) Expectedly, Arroyo would be gloating over the supposed 7.2 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2007; she would be highlighting the completion of infrastructure projects such as the opening of the NAIA 3 terminal; she would be blaming the global crisis for the intensifying sufferings of the Filipino people; and she would be defending her administration’s refusal to repeal or suspend the VAT by announcing a national social welfare program, with controversial former National Economic Development Board Director and Commission on Higher Education Chair Romulo Neri at the helm.

But the results of surveys of poll agencies namely, Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia show an increasing dissatisfaction over the government and a growing pessimism among the people. The June 27-30 survey of the SWS saw the net rating of President Arroyo plunging to a historic low of -38, with 60 percent dissatisfied and only 22 percent satisfied with her performance. Those dissatisfied were the overwhelming majority in all classes and in all regions. This is one area where Arroyo keeps on outdoing herself: she has topped her previous negative dissatisfaction rating of -33 registered in May 2005, at the height of the “Hello Garci” controversy. The IBON Foundation’s own survey in April 2008 revealed a worse result with a -74 net satisfaction rating and those wanting her removed at a high 72 percent.

Another survey, this time by Pulse Asia, conducted from July 1-14, 2008, revealed that only one out of ten believe President Arroyo’s state of the nation addresses are true. A high 40 percent thinks that her SONAs are untruthful and 46 percent are undecided. A significant drop in the number of the undecided – from 55 percent in July 2007 – translated into a big increase – an 11 percent increase – in those who find it untruthful.

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