QUEZON CITY - Filipinos believe that the three most important character traits in a candidate are “provides strong leadership, honest, and intelligent”, a recent Boses, Opinyon, Siyasat, at Siyensya para sa Pilipinas (BOSES Pilipinas) survey shows.
Based on their Voter Insights on the 2022 National Elections (VINE) survey, 69% said they prefer candidates who provide strong leadership while 55% said it is important that a candidate is honest. Being intelligent ranked as the third most desirable trait in a candidate for 42% of respondents.
“The results of this survey can really help Filipinos in evaluating their candidates. Do their preferred candidates really fit the image they have in mind of a good Filipino leader? And hopefully with this framework, they would seek credible information about the candidates whom they think fit the qualities they aspire for,” BOSES Pilipinas Convenor Dr. Imelda Deinla explained.
“Kilatasin natin ng husto ang mga kandidato kung sila ba talaga ang strong, honest, at intelligent leader na kailangan ng mga Pilipino. Do their qualifications and experiences fit these traits?” she added.
BOSES Pilipinas asked 1,500 respondents nationwide in an online survey from November 29 to December 14, 2021 to choose from a list the top three character traits that are most important for them in voting for a candidate. (Note: Refer below the attached data narrative for more details on the methodology used)
Aside from the top three character traits, 37% of respondents also said they want someone who gets things done and 33% said they want someone who is morally upright. Nineteen percent (19%) said they prefer a compassionate leader.
“With all the noise in media and social media platforms – as well as the highly-curated portrayal of the candidates in their campaigns, it is really important to ask the Filipino voters the qualities they are looking for in the candidates. Thus, we ask in the survey what are the character traits they would like to see in a candidate, rather than ask them first why they prefer this one candidate over the others,” Dr. Deinla explained.
“Apart from how they see the candidate’s position on certain issues, the voters also have certain images of the personal qualities and abilities of candidates that also form part of their voting decisions. This survey shows what is the Filipinos’ image of the leader they want,” Dr. Deinla added.
Figure 01. Preferred Candidate Traits of Filipino Voters.
Corruption, top issue current administration must address
BOSES Pilipinas’ VINE survey also asked respondents to identify the top five issues they believe the current administration should immediately address.
Fighting graft and corruption in the government is the most urgent national concern for Filipinos with 60% of the respondents including this in their top 5 priority issues.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of income sources and opportunities due to lockdowns and restrictions, the creation of jobs was deemed urgent by 50% of respondents, followed by controlling the spread of COVID-19 which was ranked by 48% of respondents.
Economic concerns also remain as Filipinos include social services reducing poverty (45%) and increasing pay for workers (44%) as their most urgent concerns. These are followed by the elimination of the sale and use of illegal drugs (37%), a controversial policy of the incumbent Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, legislative concerns such as the reimposition of the death penalty (9%) and changing the constitution (9%) are the least urgent concerns for Filipinos.
Table 01. Policy preferences of Filipino voters.
Although the survey asked respondents about the top issues they believe the current administration must immediately address, Deinla explained that these issues are also relevant to the next administration.
“These are continuing issues, and they are issues needing urgent attention, for otherwise they can deteriorate and affect the health and well-being of the Filipinos and the economic prospects of the country as a whole,” Dr. Deinla said.
“And that is why, Filipinos should really put the [2022 elections] candidates to greater scrutiny and determine whether they possess those traits essential in tackling and leading the country out of those issues. Filipinos should therefore demand that candidates explain, discuss, and debate how they may address those pressing issues,” she added.
Dr. Deinla said the VINE survey hopes to help Filipinos in making their choices this coming May elections.
“This survey challenges Filipinos to reflect, to evaluate their candidates with the kind of leader they want to address the most important issues the country is facing, and to seek credible information in assessing their candidates and not just based on popularity. Most of all, imagine your candidates as being capable – or not, in leading the Philippines out of the Covid-19 and economic crises,” Dr. Deinla explained.