, 2009 (STAR) By Helen Flores - Four out of 10 Filipinos disapprove of President Arroyo’s performance and continue to distrust her, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey released yesterday.

Pulse Asia said 43 percent of Filipinos were critical of Mrs. Arroyo’s work in the last three months while 42 percent do not trust her.

Pulse Asia’s August 2009 Ulat ng Bayan survey on Presidential Performance and Trust, conducted from July 28 to Aug. 10, used face-to-face interviews of 1,800 adults 18 years old and above.

Pulse Asia said Mrs. Arroyo got an approval rating of 23 percent and trust rating of 21 percent.

The survey said almost the same percentage of Filipinos cannot say if they approve or disapprove of the President’s performance (34 percent) or if they trust or distrust the President (37 percent).

Pulse Asia said public uncertainty over the President’s work was recorded at +7 percentage points between May and August 2009.

A similar trend may be noted with respect to the level of indecision on the matter of trusting or distrusting Mrs. Arroyo (+10 percentage points), it added.

“And while approval, disapproval, and trust ratings are generally unchanged during this period, the President’s distrust rating declined by six percentage points,” the pollster said.

Pulse Asia said Mrs. Arroyo failed to gain the approval and trust of most Filipinos, which reflected in all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings.

“This handicap persists despite Visayans arresting a year-long trend in declining presidential approval and trust ratings and recording improvements in both dimensions in the current survey (33 percent and 31 percent, respectively),” Pulse Asia said.

Metro Manila respondents continued to express disapproval (59 percent) and distrust (61 percent) for Mrs. Arroyo despite the marginal decline in the distrust ratings (-6 percentage points), Pulse Asia said.

“Indecision ratings – both in terms of the President’s performance and trustworthiness – are generally consistent with the overall figures across a one-year period,” the survey said.

Meanwhile, the survey showed an increase in the approval and trust ratings of Mrs. Arroyo (+9 to +14 percentage points) in the Visayas between May and August 2009.

However, approval and trust ratings dropped in the rest of Luzon, Mindanao, and the poorest Class E (-7 to -11 percentage points).

As for the disapproval and distrust ratings, double-digit declines occurred in the Visayas and Class ABC (-12 to -20 percentage points).

Pulse Asia said public indecision toward presidential performance is more pronounced now than in May 2009 in the rest of Luzon and Classes ABC and E (+9 to +11 percentage points).

The levels of public ambivalence or uncertainty on the matter of trusting or distrusting the President also went up in the rest of Luzon, Mindanao, and all socio-economic groupings (+9 to +18 percentage points.)

Pulse Asia also asked the respondents to assess the President’s work from 2004 to present.

“Using a 100-point grading scale, where the passing mark is 75 percent, the median rating of the President on five of seven national concerns is barely passing (75 percent),” it said.

“Her median rating in the area of strengthening the relations of the Philippines with other countries is relatively good (80 percent). However, the President failed (70 percent) in reducing the poverty of many Filipinos,” Pulse Asia said.

The President also received a passing grade in the management of the economy (75 percent), strengthening political institutions such as the electoral systems and relations between branches of government (75 percent), increasing peace in the country (75 percent), ensuring the delivery of basic services such as healthcare, education and low cost housing to Filipinos in need (75 percent); and enforcing the law on influential as well as ordinary people (75 percent).

Pulse Asia said that using an alternative measure, the simple average or mean, the President obtained a failing mark on all seven concerns, ranging from 60 percent for her anti-poverty efforts to 73 percent for her initiatives to strengthen the country’s foreign relations.

The survey has a plus or minus two percentage points error margin at the 95-percent confidence level.

Pulse Asia said among the major developments immediately prior to and during the conduct of the interviews for this survey were the death of former President Corazon Aquino, the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Mrs. Arroyo, and the President’s latest visit to the United States; the unexplained growth in the President’s wealth since assuming the presidency in 2001.

Malacañang keeps distance from Mikey property issue By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) Updated September 03, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is maintaining a hands-off policy on the controversy over presidential son Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo’s assets, including a house in the United States.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said that Rep. Arroyo could explain the matter himself just like he had already done in recent interviews.

Ermita said that the younger Arroyo and the House of Representatives, where he is congressman of Pampanga, should address the issue.

“For one thing, it’s a personal matter for the congressman. He explained himself before media but other than that all I can say is we will leave it to the lower house,” Ermita said.

He declined to comment on the statements made by Arroyo about his assets and the accumulation of wealth that took place from 2002 to 2008.

“I wouldn’t wish to make my own impressions about that so just leave it at that. I think it’s not proper for me to make a comment on that particular matter,” Ermita said.

Ermita said the Palace is not too concerned about the public perception of the Office of the President brought about by the presidential son’s wealth.

He said that as long as Rep. Arroyo is confident that he can explain the issues and that everything is aboveboard, then everybody should “just take his information as that.”

“If people think otherwise then they have their recourse, but I’d rather not give details on impressions,” Ermita said.

Based on the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth of Arroyo, his net worth went up from P5 million in 2002 to P99 million in 2008.

He admitted that campaign donations and wedding gifts enabled him to acquire a $1.32-million (P63.7 million) waterfront house in California.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved