Cabaero: Priority-setting

·3 min read

Take a look at the latest Pulse Asia survey results and you will see a guide for the government, both national and local, on which problems to address first.

The poll results should set the agenda for the government on what concerns to urgently solve. Pulse Asia, whose credibility was questioned by some before the elections last May, has regained its name following the results of the political exercise. Its latest work on priorities for government then carries a level of believability.

The Pulse Asia released last Tuesday, July 12 2022, the results of a nationwide survey it conducted on “Urgent national concerns and issues to be prioritized by the new President.” The survey of 1,200 adults from June 24 to 27 showed that the majority of Filipinos want President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to prioritize controlling inflation and increasing wages. That is 57 percent of respondents wanting that “immediate steps” be taken to control inflation.

Other survey results also showed that top-of-mind concerns for Filipinos were workers’ pay increases at 45 percent; poverty reduction, 33 percent; and jobs creation, 29 percent. These concerns take higher ranking than other national issues on corruption in government, problems with law enforcement, and the continuing challenges of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The results should not surprise anyone as Filipinos are taking a direct hit from recent increases in fuel prices and costs of goods and services.

What the survey results emphasize is that the most urgent action by the government is needed to address these top three concerns. Yet there seems to be a disconnect between what Filipinos, or at least the survey respondents, are saying and what government agencies and personalities in the national and local levels are doing and pronouncing.

While the survey asked the question on what concerns are to be prioritized “by the new President,” it does not mean it is limited to presidential action. The Pulse Asia results are a guide for all in the bureaucracy, that means Cabinet members or department heads and local government officials.

The results came from respondents not only in Metro Manila but throughout the country. Pulse Asia reported that rising prices are the top concern in all geographical areas, with the National Capital Region at 47.2 percent, and in Classes D and E at 38.4 percent and 52.3 percent, respectively.

But such concern is not in the first actions of some government offices and personalities. Nowhere in the survey results can one find as a most urgent concern the need to legalize divorce in the country or rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or revive a festival.

It would be nice to ask each department head and local government unit top official what they have done on their part to control inflation, increase wages, alleviate poverty, and create jobs. They cannot simply say these concerns are all for the National Government to address because their constituents have the same concerns and look up to them for urgent action.

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