MANILA — Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the drop in approval ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte should not at all worry him because it is not indicative of erosion of public support but merely a sentiment on particular policies.
In a statement dated Oct. 10, former president Arroyo, now Pampanga Representative, said the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results only reflects the people’s pulse on a particular time.
Results of the Third Quarter 2017 SWS survey showed Duterte obtained a net satisfaction rating of +48, which is 18 points lower than the “very good” net satisfaction rating of +66 in June 2017.
“The rise and drop in a President’s approval ratings are bound to happen in the course of his/her term. It is part of the territory,” Arroyo said.
The job of a president, she said, is not to make popular decisions but rather, decisions for the greater good though unpopular.
“After a whole year of stratospheric ratings, the President should not be unduly worried by the drop in his ratings for the 3rd quarter of the year,” she added. “This is a blip, especially because the survey was taken at the height of the controversy over so-called EJKs (extra-judicial killings) in the war against drugs.”
She said President Duterte has started several historic initiatives that will comprise his real legacy such as initiatives on comprehensive tax reform, infrastructure buildout, Charter change, and securing and rebuilding Marawi City.
All of these, Arroyo said, can produce major changes early enough to improve his ratings by early next year.
The former president recalled that she too had to endure the same process when she made tough and unpopular decisions that ultimately redounded to the common good of Filipinos.
“During my term, I too suffered even more serious problems with my ratings, precipitated by the same kind of vicious opposition now working to bring down President Duterte,” Arroyo added. “I responded by focusing instead on performance.”
She said it was her intention to leave a real legacy of achievement, because it was only the judgment of history that mattered to her.
Arroyo, a staunch Duterte ally, recently joined his party PDP-Laban to “consolidate support for the President.”