MALACANANG yesterday said the double-digit decline in the trust and approval ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte in the third quarter of this year may be attributed to soaring inflation.
Pollster Pulse Asia’s September 1 to 7 survey shows Duterte’s approval rating dropped to 75 percent from 88%, with his trust rating falling by 15 percentage points to 72% from 87% last June.
“Let’s just say the President does not govern by reason of survey results. Yes, there was a drop, but it’s still a very good mark from the people,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
“We can’t deny that the rising cost of goods and services may be behind the decline in the survey results, but the message that we’re sending is, we’re doing everything that we can.”
Roque noted that the government has taken “big leaps in ensuring that at least the people will have cheaper food items.”
He cited orders from President Rodrigo Duterte removing administrative constraints and non-tariff barriers in the importation of agricultural products and ensuring efficient delivery of agricultural goods and price stability.
“This basically is a guarantee that deliveries of food items intended for our markets will not be stopped for any reason. It is now deemed to be very urgent that imported food items reach the markets so that prices of food items at least should go down,” he said.
During the survey period, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that inflation in August was at 6.4 percent, the fastest in over nine years since it came in at 6.6 percent in March 2009.
The survey was also conducted amid reports about Duterte’s decision to declare void the amnesty given to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2011 in connection with his involvement in attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration.
Asked if the President’s action against Trillanes affected the chief executive’s ratings, Roque said: “We don’t really consider Senator Trillanes as a major hindrance to governance.”
“He is a minor legal issue that is being addressed by a few lawyers,” Roque said.
“But we do concede that when it comes to rice and food items, that affect everyone. To be honest, it’s just political talk. He is a minor footnote. He doesn’t even have another term in the Senate.”
Trillanes is on his second consecutive term as senator which ends in June 2019. Under the 1987 Constitution, a senator is barred from seeking a third consecutive term.