By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Presidential Communications

Filipinos are most disapproving of government’s coronavirus pandemic response in Southeast Asia, a survey revealed Wednesday.

According to a survey conducted by Singapore-based ASEAN Studies Centre, 53.7 percent of Filipino respondents were not in favor of the coronavirus pandemic response of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

The 53.7 percent consists of 17.9 percent “strongly disapproved” and 35.8 percent “disapproved” with government’s handling of COVID-19in the Philippines.

Moreover, 20.9 percent were neutral while 19.4 percent said “approved.”

Only 6.0 percent said “strongly approved” of the actions taken against the coronavirus, which claimed 11,401 lives so far.

Indonesia followed with a 50.4 percent disapproval versus 24.1 percent approval and 25.6 percent neutral.

Vietnam, meanwhile, recorded the highest approval rating in the region at 96.6 percent, followed by Brunei at 93.9 percent and Singapore at 92.4 percent.

‘Research and Development’

A large Filipino majority said there is a need to encourage more experts to “contribute to public policy discussions” and for the administration to “heed their suggestions.”

58.3 percent said the government should invest early warning systems for the outbreak, as well as the research and development for testing and vaccine development measures.

Furthermore, 33.3 percent said the government should offer better financial subsidies to its constituents affected by the health emergency, while 30.6 percent said the public officials should “observe health measures, instead of flouting.”

Moreover, 5.6 percent said the government should implement better health measures such as mandatory mask wearing and physical distancing.

‘Leadership Rating’ 

At least 32.7 percent respondents chose Singapore as the country with the best leadership in ASEAN in terms of pandemic response, followed by Vietnam with 31.1 percent.

However, only 0.5 percent chose the Philippines for the category.

The health emergency came out as the top challenge the respondents believe the region is currently facing, followed by rates of unemployment, economic recession, widening of socio-economic gaps, and rising disparity on income.

For Philippine respondents, 80.6 percent said the COVID-19 pandemic is the top challenge, followed by unemployment and recession at 65.7 percent, and more intense and frequent weather events at 59.7 percent.

Some 37.3 percent answered increased military tensions arising from potential flashpoints such as in the South China Sea, and 28.4 percent said widening socio-economic gaps and rising income disparity.

Only 3.0 percent of the Filipino respondents answered terrorism, 11.9 percent said domestic political instability, and 13.4 percent on the deterioration of human rights conditions.

A total of 1,032 respondents from 10 ASEAN states participated in the survey with categories of affiliation: Academia/research, business/finance, government civil-society/non-governmental/media, and regional/international organizations.

The survey was conducted between November 18, 2020 to January 10, 2021.