PUBLIC satisfaction with the performance of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s government dropped in the first quarter of 2018 from a record high in December, partly pulled down by a poor score on fighting inflation, a private pollster said on Friday.
Duterte’s administration received an overall “very good” net satisfaction rating of +58 percent, down from December’s “excellent” level of +70, according to the March 23-27 poll by Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The December rating was the highest on record since SWS began conducting opinion surveys in the 1980s.
The latest poll showed 69 percent of adult Filipinos were satisfied with the government’s overall performance, down from 79 percent in December.
Only 11 percent expressed dissatisfaction, while the remaining 18 percent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
The administration scored the lowest when it came to fighting inflation, which reached its highest level in at least five years in April.
The country’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate on Thursday for the first time in more than three years in a move to contain inflationary pressure.
Duterte’s government won it’s highest marks for helping victims of disasters. While there was no major natural disaster in the first quarter, a few typhoons caused flooding in some areas and the eruption of the country’s most active volcano in January displaced thousands of Filipinos.
The first quarter poll mirrored a similar decline in the firebrand leader’s trust rating, which fell to “very good” in March from “excellent” in December.
The controversial president still maintains national popularity despite widespread international criticism for his anti-drug campaign.
Philippine police have killed about 4,100 people since Duterte took power in late June 2016 in what the authorities say were shootouts during anti-narcotics operations. Activists say many of the killings were executions, which police deny.
At least another 2,300 drug-related deaths have also occurred at the hands of what police say are unknown assassins.
This month, Duterte made the cover of TIME magazines strongman issue. Author of the cover article, Ian Bremmer, credited the rising tide of violent street crime with helping Duterte – who he describes as “a former mayor who talked more like a Mob boss than a President” – get elected back in 2016. His promises to wipe out the drug trade with his “own brand of justice” resonated with the public.
Additional reporting by Reuters.