ELECTIONS are the principal way the people make their wishes known to their government. By their choice of officials, they say which way they want the country to go. They reelect an official or choose the one he endorses in case of a well-run government. Or they vote for change in case of incompetence or abuses. In between elections, government officials must maintain their rapport with the people. Some are good at this and are repeatedly returned to office by their satisfied constituents.
In the modern era, surveys have come to serve as an important way the people tell their officials what they think on various issues. Thus the recent Pulse Asia survey on the top concerns of Filipinos should be closely studied by our officials who are now busy laying down and carrying out plans for the country.
The Ulat ng Bayan survey carried out last March 23-28 showed that the top concerns of Filipinos today are the need to improve wages (listed by 50 percent of the respondents), followed by high prices (45 percent), poverty reduction (35 percent), and the need to create more jobs (32 percent). These are all economic concerns. The people are saying they would like to live better lives with greater income. They want jobs available for more in their neighborhoods.
The next concerns in the survey are the need to fight crime (27 percent) and corruption (22 percent), promote peace (22 percent), reduce taxes (15 percent), protect overseas Filipino Workers (13 percent), enforce the rule of law (10 percent), and protect the environment (10 percent).
At the bottom of the list of their concerns are population control (7 percent), territorial defense (6 percent), terrorism (4 percent), and Charter change (3 percent).
One part of the survey showed the people appreciate the Duterte administration’s quick response to calamities (86 percent), protection for OFWs (84 percent), and fighting criminality (81 percent). These high figures reflect the high degree of appreciation the people have for the current efforts of the President and his officials.
But along with these highly appreciated efforts of the government, our officials should devote greater attention and plan for greater action on the top four concerns in the survey – wages, prices, poverty, and jobs.
The “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is bound to create more jobs and help bring down the poverty figures in the country. There could be other related economic programs to support and supplement the building program – a planting program in agriculture, for example, a wide job creation program together with private enterprise, etc.
The people have spoken about their top concerns through the Pulse Asia survey. Along with what the government is now doing about its own key concerns like Charter change and the drive on drugs, the government could focus on more projects that will attend to the people’s concern about wages, prices, and jobs.