Rising ‘optimism’ of Filipinos must be backed by good governance 

March 9, 2022

The optimism of some Filipinos that “quality of life will improve in the next 12 months” will only be realized if the champions of good governance will win the elections, says climate activists.

Rodne Galicha, executive director of Living Laudato Si Philippines, said the quality of life will only improve if the electorate will support candidates “with clear policies to address the poverty and environmental crises.”

“That optimism will remain a dream if our next leaders will not bring changes on how the present administration runs the government. We need new leadership that will prioritize the welfare of the people and the protection of the environment,” said Galicha. 

Marinel Ubaldo, convenor of the Local Conference of the Youth, said the chance of the Filipino youth for an improved quality of life “is getting smaller because of the rising vulnerability of the country to the impacts of the climate crisis.” 

“What can we still do? Strengthen our adaptation, mitigation, and development measures as this will determine the kind of future that we’ll have but we need a government that will lead us to it,” she said. 

The activists made the statement after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey found that “at least 45 percent of Filipinos are optimistic that their quality of life will improve (termed by SWS as “optimists”) in the next 12 months.” 

The survey results, which were released on March 7, indicated that 42% of the respondents said the condition of their life will stay the same, and 3% said it will worsen, while the remaining 9% did not give an answer.

“The December 2021 net personal optimism score is 16 points above the high +26 in September 2021, and the highest since the pre-pandemic level of excellent +44 in December 2019,” the SWS said in a statement.

Sonny Africa, executive director of Ibon Foundation, said Filipinos “are generally optimistic” every month of December because of the coming New Year, “which means to many as new beginnings.”

“It is the same when there is an election coming, people are becoming optimistic because it gives hope of a new leadership, who promises a new chance to improve the people’s lives,” he said. 

He, however, said that Filipino optimism is sometimes “a form of coping mechanism.” He said, “People hope for the better because they are in a bad situation or they are suffering.”

Africa said Filipinos must vote for “a new set of leaders that will bring them closer to the kind of life they hope,” adding that the electorate must “carefully examine the track record and achievement of the candidates.” 

On March 7, Ibon Foundation published an infographic showing the “life histories” of the 2022 presidential aspirants.

“Former senator Bongbong Marcos is the only presidential candidate without a university degree and who is untruthful about not having one,” said Ibon Foundation. 

“Among the most important candidates, he is also the only one not immediately coming from public service or social advocacy work and it is unclear what he has been doing for the last six years,” it added.

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