Unity binds

AFTER divisiveness in the latter part of the Aquino-Binay term and years of antagonizing the chief ex-ecutive officer of PH Inc. from 2016 to 2022, it seems that in the first 100 days, a common working front is felt. We can see cooperation and teamwork between President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (PBBM) and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio (VPSZDC). The VP knows her place and there is no upstaging happening in the first 100 days.

The call during the campaign for unity seems to be ringing and allowing everyone to move in one direc-tion. The Pahayag Quarter 3 (PQ3) national survey, which came out last October 7, has shown that the Marcos-Duterte team is complementing each other as they meet the challenges and opportunities for the young administration. Certainly, there are missteps, but we saw how corrective measures were done just so accountability and transparency are set in place, especially at the very executive team of PBBM.

It will be recalled that in the Pahayag Quarter 2 survey, 68 percent of the respondents expected Mar-cos to perform well. This was validated in PQ3, where respondents said that PBBM performed well at 59 percent. In the embargoed modules of PQ3, the team of PBBM got 65 percent overall approval in their first 100 days in office. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD)'s positive impact is seemingly car-ried over to the new team, driven by his loyal kababayan supporters in Mindanao, whose majority deem the current at the least comparable with the previous administration at 41 percent.

About a third of Filipino voters agree with him appointing himself as the agriculture secretary at 63 percent. However, his efforts in addressing issues in the agriculture industry must relate directly to curbing inflation as it is deemed the most pressing issue now at 41 percent. Exorbitant oil prices, which is still far from the prices before the Russian-Ukraine war broke out, is another concern at 31 percent.

With relatively higher approval (62 percent) and trust (58 percent) than PBBM, 3 out of 4 Filipino voters have given their thumbs up for VP SZDC as OIC-president in the absence of PBBM. The VP's approval is at 66 percent while trust is at 62 percent. Her positive influence is also evident in the bigger majority agreeing to her recent statements related to red-tagging (72 percent), dealing with criminals/terrorists (67 percent), and resumption of face-to-face classes (74 percent).

In the post-election embargoed module, 65 percent said they voted for PBBM. On whether they were misinformed in voting for candidate Marcos, a majority at 82 percent said no. On the question, do you consider the presidency of PBBM as a dark page in our history, 60 percent said no.

More livelihood sources (49 percent), curtailing if not totally eliminating graft and corruption (38 per-cent), access to quality but affordable health care (31 percent), reducing criminality (26 percent), up-lifting the poor (25 percent) and stopping spread of illegal drugs (24 percent) are the Top 5 issues the respondents considered as having a great impact in their lives. Interestingly, 95 percent of these issues were the reason for voting for PBBM in the May 2022 elections. "The sins/merits of the father are NOT the sins/merits of the son" is seemingly the prevailing sentiment (84 percent) of those who voted for PBBM for reasons other than the important issues affecting one's life.

More Filipino voters claim to have voted for PRRD (78 percent) in 2016 than those who voted for PBBM (65 percent) in 2022. But perhaps almost all of those who voted for the latter consider the current ad-ministration as a continuation of the previous, as suggested by the same proportion (64 percent) who think so.

On VPSZDC, 70 percent of the respondents confirmed they voted for candidate Sara and the pattern of VisMin carrying the VP holds sway at 77 percent (Visayas) and 84 percent (Mindanao). The primary reason for electing VP Sara is her having sufficient knowledge and experience in governance, deemed to be enough to serve as the country's second highest official. Being the daughter of the former PRRD as a reason for voting VP Sara is only true among less than 1 in 10, or at 8 percent.

The promise of a united country under the Marcos-Duterte administration was a strong come-on for the Filipino voters at 77 percent and worked well for the tandem — again hinting at the desire to rise above the divisiveness that was started by the senior Marcos and Aquino. A simple, short and single message of "unity" appears to be the new mantra that can be compared to Obama's 2009 single mes-sage of change and when further drilled, it was "change you can believe in."

Another embargoed module was that of the vloggers vs mainstream media (MSM). This was tested because of the declaration of the then press secretary that vloggers will be considered in the premium beat, Malacañang. Three in four Filipino voters still get their news from the mainstream media. How-ever, if compared vs vloggers, there is some wavering in terms of reporting biases and the competen-cy in the manner of communicating policies, plans and programs of the current administration.

Seventy-four percent of the respondents still get their news from MSM with an absolute majority via online platforms. On the question, would you consider vloggers to be better in communicating the pol-icies, plans and programs of PBBM, 45 percent said yes while 38 percent said no. Which would you con-sider as more biased, the vloggers or the mainstream media? MSM got 42 percent, vloggers at 38 per-cent and I don't know or can't say was at 20 percent.

It will take time for us to understand what unity is in our land of hatred, vitriol, wokenism and others but understand we must because the best weapon against VUCA is a people working together and building the edifice, one stone at a time. The division will have to stop in order for us to move along. If the Marcos-Duterte administration can do this, we just might be able to resuscitate our nation in one, shared direction. It has been said that "for too long, we have focused on our differences — in our poli-tics and backgrounds, in our race and beliefs — rather than cherishing the unity and pride that binds us together."



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