ELLEN TORDESILLAS: SONA AND THE NOISE OF DEMOCRACY


MANILA, J
ULY 24, 2013 (MALAYAR) Written by ELLEN TORDESILLAS - Many will disagree with Aquino and will criticize the picture of the country he will present. That’s the noise of democracy and Filipinos love that.’

LAST week, Social Weather Stations released the results of their survey showing a record-high satisfaction among Filipinos with the way democracy works.

It’s relevant to connect the high satisfaction high satisfaction rating of President Aquino with the public’s satisfaction of the way democracy works. That’s why it’s not surprising that Malacañang officials, of course, didn’t waste time in congratulating themselves and issued the following statement:

“We welcome the results of a survey conducted in March this year by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), on satisfaction with how democracy works at a record level of 74%. It is the highest figure since the polling firm began running the survey in 1991, surpassing the previous record-high of 70% in September 1992 and July 1998. Notably, in the four surveys conducted yearly under the Aquino administration, the figure has not dipped below 64% –the longest period of sustained satisfaction recorded throughout the five administrations since the restoration of democracy in 1986.

“True democracy includes what the President’s father called freedom from hunger. This is why we have invested in both strengthening and expanding our social safety nets so the fruits of democracy may be enjoyed by as many Filipinos as possible.

“Realizing that democracy is a work in progress, the Aquino administration is determined to continue reforms that will help restore trust in our public institutions, renew faith in government, and empower the Filipino people.”

The survey conducted was conducted March 19-22, 2013, a little over a month before the May 2013 senatorial elections. SWS noted that in June 2004, a month after Gloria Arroyo ‘won’ the presidential election (which later on was exposed to be riddled with fraud) public satisfaction with the way democracy works was a disappointing 44%.

The March 2013 survey also found a majority 59% saying “democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government,” compared to 21% saying “under some circumstances, an authoritarian government can be preferable to a democratic one” and 20% saying “for people like me, it does not matter whether we have a democratic or a non-democratic regime”.

SWS, however underscored that “Public preference between democracy and authoritarianism is a different issue from the degree of satisfaction with how democracy works, and is probed by a separate question, also standard in many national surveys.

Contrast this findings to the situation in Pakistan where as shown by the British Council’s Next Generation Report (as reported by Time Magazine’s Aryn Baker), only 23 percent of the 5,271 youth interviewed believe democracy has been good to their country.

Baker said the British Council report showed: Thirty-two percent of youths said military rule would be more effective, and 38 percent thought Shari’a, the style of Islamic law used in Saudi Arabia (and brutally imposed by the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1990’s) was the solution. Only 29 percent though democracy was the way forward.”

Today, President Aquino will give us his version of the state of the nation. It is presumed that he will take credit for the good things going for the country even if they were a result of the measures started by previous administrations. Many will disagree with him and will criticize the picture of the country he will present.

That’s the noise of democracy and Filipinos love that.
 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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