APPROVAL ratings for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has dropped to its lowest since the leader took office, a recent survey revealed on Tuesday as his administration gears up for his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted between June 27 to 30 shows his gross satisfaction rating declining to 65 percent, five points lower than 70 percent in March, according to ABS-CBN News.
SWS said the this is equivalent to a +45 net satisfaction rating from Duterte’s +56 rating last March, an 11-point decline from “very good” to “good”.
The number of Filipinos dissatisfied with Duterte’s performance was at 20 percent, higher from the 14 percent in March. The findings come ahead of Duterte’s third SONA scheduled on July 23.
During a press conference north of Manila, Duterte said: “I don’t care, it does not interest me at all.”
“And with a new suggestion, since I am not popular anymore, Congress might decide to get a popular one. You want a popular President, fine good,” he added, as quoted by the Manila Bulletin.
The SWS survey did not ask respondents to explain their rating for Duterte, who took office in June 2016. Duterte had enjoyed high satisfaction ratings since coming to office, peaking at 66 percent in June 2017.
Based on the SWS methodology for satisfaction ratings, a score of 70 and above is considered excellent, 50 to 69 is very good, 30-49 good and 10-29 moderate.
The survey was taken during the week when Duterte attacked the Catholic Church and called God “stupid” after bishops and priests criticised the killing of drug suspects in the government’s anti-narcotics campaign.
“It was an unnecessary remark, it really affected his ratings,” said analyst Earl Parreno of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms, as quoted by Reuters.
“The rising prices and unemployment also had an impact, but this is only temporary. He has to repair his relations with the bishops and rebuild his image,” he said.
On Monday, Duterte met with the head of the Catholic Bishops to cease his verbal attacks against the Church.