Duterte’s popularity reaches 91% during COVID-19 crisis: survey

Manila, Oct 5 (efe-epa).- The popularity of the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, reached 91 percent according to a survey carried out by the consultancy group Pulse Asia, the only of its kind carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic, showing one of the best results of his tenure.

Support for the president increased by four percentage points since December 2019, when it achieved 87 percent support, despite the Philippines being the largest epicenter of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, with some 322,500 cases and more than 5,700 deaths.

According to the poll published Monday, 5 percent of those interviewed disapprove of Duterte’s management in recent months, while 4 percent are undecided.

The largest increase in support, at 11 percent comes from the poorest social classes, despite having been the hardest hit during the pandemic that has left nearly half of the Philippine workforce unemployed.

Duterte is one of the world leaders with the most popular support, not falling below 65 percent in his tenure amid the worst health and economic crisis in years in the Philippines, which entered the second quarter in recession for the first time in three decades.

Opposition groups, civic organizations and the medical community have harshly criticized the Duterte response to the pandemic, who has imposed one of the longest and strictest quarantines in the world, particularly in Manila.

However, a poll published in June by Social Weather Station (SWS), the country’s other major pollster, found that 84 percent of Filipinos believe strict confinement is worth it if it serves to contain COVID-19, although 83 percent said their quality of life has worsened during the pandemic.

One of the paradoxes that surround Duterte’s figure is that the high level of support for his administration in general is not accompanied by strong support for his star policies, such as the war on drugs or the diplomatic rapprochement with China.

Ninety-three percent of Filipinos reject Duterte’s passive stance in their territorial dispute with the Asian giant in the South China Sea, while 76 percent reject the human rights violations and the bloodbath of his anti-drug campaign, which has killed about 30,000 people, according to humanitarian organizations.

His sexist comments, his insults to the Church in the nation with the most Catholics in Asia, as well as his attacks on press freedom and judicial persecution of his critics in the region’s oldest democracy, have not cracked his internal reputation either. EFE-EPA


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