Manila, May 28, 2003 -- Despite the country's sluggish economy, a festering 
Muslim insurgency and a lingering terrorist threat, most Filipinos approve 
of President Arroyo's handling of the nation's problems, according to an 
independent survey.

Sixty percent of some 8,700 respondents nationwide approved her performance 
while 40 percent disapproved, Vox Populi Philippines Corp. said, releasing 
poll results yesterday.

Most people in 70 of the country's 79 provinces gave Mrs. Arroyo passing 
marks, the survey also showed.

The top 15 provinces where the President got the highest support were: her 
home province of Pampanga (95 percent), Bohol (92 percent), Antique (89 
percent), Zamboanga de Sibugay (85 percent), Albay, Cebu and Negros 
Occidental (82 percent), Tarlac (81 percent), Bukidnon and Camarines Sur 
(79 percent), Iloilo (75 percent), and Davao del Sur and Pangasinan (73 

On the other hand, the nine provinces where most of the poll respondents 
gave Mrs. Arroyo failing marks were: Ilocos Sur and Maguindanao (81 
percent), Lanao del Sur (75 percent), Camarines Norte (74 percent), Bulacan 
(60 percent), Rizal and Sarangani (59 percent), Ilocos Norte (54 percent) 
and Laguna (52 percent).

Survey respondents said they gave Mrs. Arroyo high approval ratings 
generally because she was "hardworking," highly respected by world leaders, 
intelligent and honest, Vox Populi said.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Arroyo's legendary flare-ups, her staunch support for the 
US-led war on terrorism, her "insincerity," and her way of running the 
country were generally behind the disapproval ratings, the poll firm added.

The survey was conducted from May 3 to 4 and had an error margin of less 
than one percentage point. Vox Populi president Mansing Sarmiento said the 
survey respondents were interviewed and the results were transmitted to 
Manila from the provinces via the Internet.

Mrs. Arroyo has managed to maintain a steady approval after her sudden 
withdrawal from the 2004 presidential election and her support for the 
US-led war on Iraq, previous surveys by other pollsters showed.

Mrs. Arroyo's 45 percent rating was virtually unchanged from a November 
2002 survey where she got 46 percent despite rising pessimism among 
Filipinos on their future, Pulse Asia Inc. said early this month.

Mrs. Arroyo unexpectedly withdrew in December from next year's presidential 
contest, saying it would distract her from improving the lives of 
Filipinos, 39 percent of whom live in poverty.

Many believe she withdrew because her popularity has been on the wane since 
she assumed the presidency after a military-backed popular uprising in 
January 2001.

In the Pulse Asia survey, Mrs. Arroyo got higher approval ratings on 
handling of the decades-old Muslim insurgency in Mindanao but low support 
for her economic recovery efforts. (Star)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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