A record six in 10 Filipino adults believe the economic crunch and pessimism are increasing to levels unseen since 1983, according to a report from Social Weather Stations. The pollster’s survey revealed public despondency had attained 1983 levels when the assassination of opposition leader Benigno (“Ninoy”) Aquino and financial uncertainty eroded public confidence.
The SWS survey showed 62 per cent of respondents indicating their quality of life deteriorated during the second quarter of 2008. Only 12 per cent said it improved, representing a gainers-losers gap of minus-50, the worst since 1983’s second quarter. The discrepancy reached record levels in the Visayas (minus-61) and Luzon, excluding Metro Manila (minus-45). It was particularly evident among the poorer socioeconomic classes D (minus-50) and E (minus-53).
SWS’s report, based on a nationwide survey of 1,200 Filipino adults from June 27 to 30, showed optimism fell by double-digit levels in all regions except Metro Manila compared to the same period in 2007. Thirty per cent of respondents anticipated a personal decline in their quality of life in the next 12 months while 24 per cent were optimistic about it, representing a net personal optimism rating of minus-6. This represents a 10-point drop from the previous quarter’s plus-6 and a 28-point fall from last year’s plus-22.
Net personal optimism plummeted in the Visayas (from plus-3 last March to minus-17), Luzon excluding Metro Manila (from plus-14 to plus-1) and Mindanao, (from plus-two to minus-nine). It remained at minus-nine in Manila.
Optimism witnessed a tailspin in all socioeconomic classes, with decreases ranging from eight points among members of the upper ABC classes (from plus-22 to plus-14) to 12 points in the lowest E class (from minus-1 to minus-13).
The poll also found 52 per cent expected the economy to worsen in the next 12 months while 12 per cent expected improvements for a net economic optimism rate of minus-39, or 10 points below last quarter’s minus-29. Waning economic optimism was evident in all regions, with the decline ranging from five points in the rest of Luzon to 18 points in the Visayas, and among all classes from eight points among class D respondents to 25 points among class ABC participants.
“It is normal to be more optimistic about one’s own quality of life than about the economy as a whole,” the SWS report said.