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Building an empowered and well-informed generation of Filipino voters



Building on their past research works and the need for more innovative survey approaches, the Ateneo School of Government, through its public policy think tank, the Ateneo Policy Center, launched Boses, Opinyon, Siyasat, at Siyensya para sa Pilipinas (BOSES Pilipinas). It is the first university-based opinion and survey research unit that aims to provide evidence and information to secure the Filipino voice on significant public policy issues.



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Social Development Reform in the Duterte Administration​

Jul-2021

Abao, Carmel V; Cornelio, Jayeel S.

Based on government statistics on social development, the administration of President Duterte— before the COVID-19 pandemic—had been faring well in alleviating poverty, combatting hunger, and keeping Filipino children in school. The official numbers, however, do not match the current reality of Filipinos as shown by self-rated indicators of poverty and hunger and by recent reports of problems relating to health, incomes and education. Dr. Abao and Dr. Cornelio discuss the disconnect between these two narratives and the unexpected sustained popularity of President Duterte amidst the pandemic. They examine whether or not the Duterte administration has indeed been faring well in social development, before and during the Covid- 19 pandemic.

Legislative and Constitutional Reforms Under the Duterte Administration

Jul-2021

Yusingco, Michael Henry; Mendoza, Ronald U.; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann S.; Yap, Jurel

This article provides a brief overview of five years of legislative and constitutional reforms under the Duterte administration. President Duterte's bold campaign promises were backed by wide public support, a supermajority coalition in Congress, and a unified Cabinet. Indeed, empirical evidence points to how the President's coalition in Congress, upcoming national elections, and the President's capacity to tag bills as urgent or priority can help fast-track the passage of laws. While this was able to translate to high legislative productivity in the 17th and 18th Congresses, crucial aspects of the President's legislative agenda still remain pending. Moreover, key reforms that were passed are widely criticized for promoting efficiency over equity and for falling short in addressing key governance issues. Even though the President had the unprecedented institutional means to steer legislation to his agenda, we find that Duterte is no different from his predecessors who prioritize short-term and rewarding laws over meaningful long-term reform.

Review of the Philippine Economic Situation and Analysis of the State of the Nation in 2021

Jul-2021

Tuano, Philip Arnold P.

At the start of its term, the Duterte administration reaped the benefits of the Philippines’ momentum of economic growth and poverty reduction; the country’s GDP continued to expand at above six percent during the 2016 to 2019 period while poverty incidence significantly declined to 16 percent in 2018. The government’s economic strategy was founded on the expansion of the national infrastructure program popularly known as the Build-Build-Build, funded by additional public revenues brought about by the Tax Reforms for Acceleration and Inclusion which it planned to further accelerate the country’s growth path. However, the COVID-19 pandemic shock in 2020 has dented this trajectory and impaired the short-run prospects of the country; at the same time, the lack of a robust fiscal response to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic may have further diminished the ability of the country to immediately continue its pre-pandemic growth trajectory. This paper illustrates the current economic situation in the country and lays down key recommendations for the final year of the Duterte administration.

National Security, Anti-Corruption, and Anti-Crime Policies in the Duterte administration

Jul-2021

De Jesus, Edilberto

President Duterte’s top three campaign promises, to be completed within the first seven months of his term, on ending crime, corruption and illegal drugs and human trafficking. The failure to deliver on these promises, critical to the country’s development prospects, stemmed from approaching complex issues as mainly law enforcement problems. Their resolution thus became overly reliant on the capacity of police and security personnel the president could trust. The strategy did not take advantage of lessons learned around the world and from its own experience in addressing impunity and engaging citizen support in controlling corruption, a tendency also reflected in the government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Link Between Fake News Susceptibility and Political Polarization of the Youth in the Philippines

Nov-2021

Deinla, Imelda; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann; Ballar, Kier Jesse; Yap, Jurel

Misinformation, political polarization, its links, and negative societal consequences have long been studied in literature. This study contributes to this field by exploring the relationship of political polarization, using a novel measure that captures political support for President Duterte (representing the administration) against political support for Vice President Robredo (representing the opposition) on a spectrum, and the vulnerability of the Filipino youth to online misinformation through an online survey conducted among college-aged students in various colleges and universities across the Philippines. We find evidence that partisan supporters of President Duterte are more likely to inaccurately identify fake and real news, compared to partisan supporters of the opposition. This is remarkably similar to trends in the United States where Republicans are more vulnerable to misinformation. Other results also highlight possible trends, such as the link between increased self-reported frequency of seeing fake news and decreased likelihood of correctly identifying fake news, and the link between increased trust in news in social media and decreased odds of correctly identifying both real and fake news.

Misinformed or Overconfident? Fake News and Youth Voting Likelihood in the Philippines

Apr-2022

Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann; Ballar, Kier Jesse; Yap, Jurel; Deinla, Imelda

How can online misinformation affect the Filipino youth’s likelihood to vote? While the youth is recognized as a crucial sector for Philippine democracy, disillusionment towards the government can compromise participation. We examine how social media, by facilitating the spread of misinformation and incivility, inhibits voting likelihood among the youth. Using ordered logistic regression on survey data comprising 23,996 college students across the country, we find that citizens who can accurately identify real political news from fake and have high confidence in their ability to detect misinformation are more likely to vote in the upcoming Philippine presidential elections. Thus, contrary to previous empirical work, both confidence and information accuracy are crucial predictors of voter likelihood.

Emergent political remittances during the pandemic: Evidence from a survey of overseas Filipino workers

Jul-2022

Deinla, Imelda B.; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann S.; Mendoza, Ronald U.; Yap, Jurel K.

Are overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) evaluations of Philippine pandemic response influenced by their experiences in their host countries? There is a growing strand in the migration literature that evaluates the transmission of political remittances, in the form of norms or practices, to home countries and its implications for democratization. This study analyzes how political remittances are formed in the first place through survey data on 163 OFWs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing ordered logistic regression, we find that experiences of successful pandemic management and aid distribution in host countries may trigger responses demanding better measures in the Philippines.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/01171968221112119

Is Local Language the Bridge Across Political Divides? An Evaluation of Local Language Use in a Voter-Information Campaign in the Philippines Using Facebook Split Tests

Aug-2022

Mendoza, Ronald U.; Domingo, Cristine Lian C.; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann S., Yap, Jurel K.

With the current divisive political climate across many democracies, and with populist leaders leveraging disparities and inequality across geographic and language communities, it is important to find ways to bridge these divides, particularly for voter information campaigns that seek to strengthen the democratic process. One possible method is through employing a basic communications strategy that utilizes local languages in social media communication targeted at specific linguistic groups. This study turns to a field experiment to assess whether or not using the four most prevalent languages in the Philippines (Cebuano-Bisaya, Ilonggo-Hiligaynon, Ilokano, and Waray-Samarnon) can increase engagement in voter information materials channeled through Facebook. Through two different campaigns implemented on Facebook, the study found clear evidence that local language materials are more likely to be clicked on and engaged with. In the “Kamag-Anak Inc” (Families in Politics, Incorporated) campaign, users were 6% more likely to click on local language materials; for the “Iba Naman” (We want alternative leaders) campaign, users were 54% more likely to click on – and 28% more likely to engage with – local language ads. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews revealed some of the drivers behind these results: local language ads are easier to comprehend, give users a sense of pride and community, and are novelties compared to traditional English and Tagalog ads. These findings and the evaluation methodology herein opens opportunities for evidence-guided social media campaign strategies for government and civil society particularly in policy issues that are contentious and divisive.

Keywords: Split Test, Social Media, Voter Information, Language

A Philippine Strongman's Legislative and Constitutional Reforms Legacy

Sep-2022

Yusingco, Michael Henry; Mendoza, Ronald U.; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann S.; Yap, Jurel K.

This article examines five years of legislative and constitutional reforms under President Rodrigo R. Duterte. An overview of post-EDSA republic acts shows administrations being more successful in legislating social and economic reforms than political reforms. President Duterte is no exception to this yet his presidency stands out in both legislative productivity and the passage of long-overdue laws. This success is due in part to high presidential approval, a supermajority coalition in Congress, and a unified Cabinet. These strengthen his influence over Congress, raising expectations that charter change can be fulfilled. His administration’s failed attempt at federalism then raises questions on his commitment to the policy in the first place. Despite a populist campaign and institutional means at his disposal, Duterte does not appear any different from his predecessors who prioritized economic reforms favored by the business class over deep political reforms with broader implications on governance and inclusive development.

The Link Between Fake News Susceptibility and Political Polarization of the Youth in the Philippines

Sep-2022

Deinla, Imelda; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann; Ballar, Kier Jesse; Yap, Jurel

Misinformation, political polarization, its links, and negative societal consequences have long been studied in literature. This study contributes to this field by exploring the relationship of political polarization, using a novel measure that captures political support for President Duterte (representing the administration) against political support for Vice President Robredo (representing the opposition) on a spectrum, and the vulnerability of the Filipino youth to online misinformation through an online survey conducted among college-aged students in various colleges and universities across the Philippines. We find evidence that partisan supporters of President Duterte are more likely to inaccurately identify fake and real news, compared to partisan supporters of the opposition. This is remarkably similar to trends in the United States where Republicans are more vulnerable to misinformation. Other results also highlight possible trends, such as the link between increased self-reported frequency of seeing fake news and decreased likelihood of correctly identifying fake news, and the link between increased trust in news in social media and decreased odds of correctly identifying both real and fake news.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02185377.2022.2117713

Do Filipino voters value policy and leadership continuity? Insights from a national survey of Filipinos in November to December 2021

Nov-2022

Deinla, Imelda B.; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann S.; Domingo, Cristine Lian C.; Yap, Jurel K.

As Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines ends his 6 year presidential term, himself and flagship policies continue to garner high satisfaction and support of the illiberal populist regime,based on perceived performance and implementation of his flagship policies. In this study, we aim to measure the determinants of this continued support and policy continuity for the Duterte administration among Filipino voters trend. We use a non-probability quota sampled survey of 1,500 Filipinos administered from November 29 to December 14, 2021 to probe this link. Using respondent-level data, the study shows a strong correlation between support for incumbent president Duterte and the likelihood of voting for a presidential candidate espousing the Duterte administration’s incumbent flagship policies. We find evidence that information sources have an important role in public support of these policies, in which increased trust in social media is linked to greater support to four out of the five policies. The findings suggest the importance of studying personality politics and populism, and its effects on elections and democracies. It also this stresses the importance of more effective voter educational programs which emphasize policy rather than personalities.

http://ssrn.com/abstract=4379082

Social pressures against criticizing the government: Social media, network homogeneity, and majority views

Jan-2023

David, Clarissa C.; San Pascual Maria Rosel; Bunquin, Jon Benedik; Osorio, Maria Jeriesa; Cabonce, Angelo Bill

This study seeks to contribute to our understanding of a specific kind of social pressure from the point of view of the people who disapprove of criticizing the government. The subject of the form of speech, criticism of authority broadly, in this study is of particular interest to democratic study because of its potentially deleterious impact on the expression of dissent in authoritarian-style regimes. We study this in the Philippines where in the last six years there has been a rapid erosion of liberal democracy, marked by a decline in press freedom, increased disinformation, threats against opposition politicians, and harassment of civil society groups that have been vocal in opposing the flagship policies of the President. Given the context, where social media use and disinformation is high while President Duterte, who had shunned norms of liberal democracy, rule of law, and human rights enjoys record-high public approval ratings ranging from 75% to 90%, we draw specific hypotheses for how the environment may fuel disapproval of speech that opposes authority and the government. Namely, we expect that given the highly polarized uncivil speech in social media, those who consume more social media will be less tolerant of criticisms of authority. Further, that those who have homogenous social networks will likewise be less willing to accept dissenting views as they would strong perception that they share the majority view. Finally, that belief in the high approval ratings of the President, and the strength of one's own support for the President will enhance this intolerance for criticism against the President and his government.

http://ssrn.com/abstract=4331318

Predicting Willingness to be Allegiant to Authority

Jan-2023

San Pascual, Ma. Rosel; Bunquin, Jon Benedik; Osorio, Maria Jeriesa; David, Clarissa C., Cabonce, Angelo Bill

To summarize, our paper attempts to contribute to the discourse on allegiance to authority and the factors that possibly predict willingness to defer. Following President Duterte's normative construction of allegiance, we refer to allegiance to authority as an inclination to acquiesce and support the administration without question nor criticism at all times. We argue that the Duterte factor makes the public more willing to be allegiant to authority. This is an interesting point of inquiry in an era when the practice of liberal democracy, in a supposed democratic country, has been crescively interrograted.

http://ssrn.com/abstract=4331309

Social Development Reform in the Duterte AdministrationJul-2021Abao, Carmel V; Cornelio, Jayeel S.Based on government statistics on social development, the administration of President Duterte— before the COVID-19 pandemic—had been faring well in alleviating poverty, combatting hunger, and keeping Filipino children in school. The official numbers, however, do not match the current reality of Filipinos as shown by self-rated indicators of poverty and hunger and by recent reports of problems relating to health, incomes and education. Dr. Abao and Dr. Cornelio discuss the disconnect between these two narratives and the unexpected sustained popularity of President Duterte amidst the pandemic. They examine whether or not the Duterte administration has indeed been faring well in social development, before and during the Covid- 19 pandemic.https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3878607Legislative and Constitutional Reforms Under the Duterte AdministrationJul-2021Yusingco, Michael Henry; Mendoza, Ronald U.; Mendoza, Gabrielle Ann S.; Yap, JurelThis article provides a brief overview of five years of legislative and constitutional reforms under the Duterte administration. President Duterte’s bold campaign promises were backed by wide public support, a supermajority coalition in Congress, and a unified Cabinet. Indeed, empirical evidence points to how the President’s coalition in Congress, upcoming national elections, and the President’s capacity to tag bills as urgent or priority can help fast-track the passage of laws. While this was able to translate to high legislative productivity in the 17th and 18th Congresses, crucial aspects of the President’s legislative agenda still remain pending. Moreover, key reforms that were passed are widely criticized for promoting efficiency over equity and for falling short in addressing key governance issues. Even though the President had the unprecedented institutional means to steer legislation to his agenda, we find that Duterte is no different from his predecessors who prioritize short-term and rewarding laws over meaningful long-term reforms.https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3883136

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