The is the first social survey conducted by the University Research Council (URC) of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) under the auspices of its envisioned social weather station (SWS). The survey was administered by ADDU’s Social Research, Training and Development Office (SRTDO) through Ms. Mildred M. Estanda, its director, and Dr. Christine Diaz, chair of the History and Political Science department.
Creation of ADDU’s SWS
Indeed, the idea of establishing an ADDU polling center was initially proposed by the URC, through its chair by Ms. Lourdesita Sobrevega-Chan, in June of the last School Year 2013-2014. The proposal was subsequently approved by the University President, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ.
Importance of Empirical Data. In establishing ADDU’s SWS, the URC recognizes the university’s desire for gathering empirical data, especially those that those that do not yet exist. In its proposal document, as submitted and approved, it emphasizes the importance of the following: Firstly, that the data “can service the need of some influential persons and/or groups from within/outside of the University;” secondly, that “it can serve as basis for the verification/testing/sharpening of (implicit) hypotheses;” thirdly, that “it can generate a database that can be of potential use in tracking ongoing, longer-term social processes that may lead toward a far better, much more satisfying understanding of the actual dynamics of Southern Mindanao society and culture;” and finally, the proposal states that it can “set against a larger horizon of contributing to social-cultural, politico-economic change and development in this part of the country.”
SWS vis-à-vis Mindanao. The creation of its own polling center is, therefore, predicated on the felt-need to enhance the university’s data-gathering capacity as an academic institution in carrying out tracking surveys or polls (whether they be of regular, rigorous, and sustained kind) concerning relevant and current issues of the day. Through this center, the university then hopes to contribute not only in gathering data of awareness-perception-opinion-attitude or socio-demographic type, but also in building a database for analytic purposes—for wider dissemination at the local, regional, national and international level. Certainly, ADDU welcomes this opportune time to strategically position itself, becoming a major player in undertaking cutting-edge researches that have greater implications to the region and peoples of Mindanao, in particular, and of the country, in general.
Assistance by SWS-P. The URC acknowledges the crucial role that the Social Weather Station-Philippines (SWS-P), through its president, Dr. Mahar Mangahas, has played in helping the center take off the ground. It recognizes SWS-P’s contribution in the training of personnel, researchers and data-gatherers in its initial stage of operation, and more particularly in the sharing of questions that have become part of this first social weather survey on Davao City.
Highlights of the Survey
Called the City-Wide Social Survey 1 (CWSS-1), this social survey was conducted between 9th to 16th April 2014, covering 632 adults in the three (3) districts and twelve (12) sub-districts of Davao City, with + 4% sampling error and 95% level of significance. All the interviews done in this survey were administered face-to-face.
Data gathered covers a wide range of topics and issues that are both of particular and general interests to the people of Davao City, such as economic trends indicators, wealth creation, self-rated poverty, financial situation, environment, peace and order, governance, identities, and even such interesting issue as happiness index.
A minefield of empirical data can be extracted from these results. Some of the highlights of the survey are presented below.
A great majority of the respondents have completed high school, followed by an even number of those who have attained college degree and those who have, at least, gone through college education. An overwhelming number of respondents registered their ethnicity as Bisaya. Majority are married (61%), while for those who declared themselves with no spouse or partner, a little below half (47%) have never married, and slightly above a quarter (27%) have lost a spouse (widow/widower).
Labor Force Status and Profile
Slightly above half of the respondents (51%) claimed that they have a job, and yet a little more than a third (36%) said that though they have a job before, they are presently out of the labor force.
There is a very high optimism among Davaoeños (with a total agree answers of 92%) regarding the economic growth of the city. That Davao City is, indeed, able to provide employment for its citizens is a telling sign. A very good number of respondents generally agreed (87%) that finding a job in Davao City is easier than anywhere in the country. Indeed, this perception holds true for, more or less, the same percentage of respondents (at 85%) who believe that ordinary people have an easier time looking for employment in the city than anywhere else.
Enjoyment of the city’s much improved infrastructure and services is very high, posting remarkable agree percentages way above the 90s mark. The top three answers of the respondents are the following: Bridges (96%), followed very closely by roads, water utility, and transportation service (all at 94%), and public hospitals, public parks, garbage disposal and emergency services (all at 93%). The rest are not far behind, with both canals and waterways and electric power at 92% (the survey was conducted prior to the implementation of rotational power outages by the city’s only electric and energy provider, the Davao Light and Power Company [DLPC]), and traffic system at 91%. Interestingly though, only 87% of respondents said that they enjoy a much improved business innovation facilities in the city.
Despite these high marks that put the confidence of Davaoeños in enjoying these infrastructure and services at an all-time high, it is important to note though that 86% of the city residents experience a widening divide between the rich and the poor.
How do Davaoeños generally rate themselves as regard poverty index? An overwhelming 82% perceived themselves to be on the poverty line, with only 3% claiming to be not poor, while 15% claimed to be poor.
Household Financial Situation
In the last three months, slightly above a quarter (26%) claimed that their income is not enough relative to their actual spending, and yet 41% answered that their income is just enough. Of the respondents surveyed, only a little above ten percent (13%) declared that they are able to save from what they earned.
These figures are slightly up when the respondents were asked about their financial situation in the next three months, with 29% projecting that they will earn less than what will be spent, and yet slightly below half (49%) of them are claiming that they will earn just about the same. The figure of those who are optimistic about saving is also up at 20%.
As regard sources of income within the last three months, family savings (95%) topped the list. However, slightly below three fourth of them (74%) said that they are expecting to rely on loans in the next succeeding months, distantly followed by assistance from private persons and institutions (44%), with slightly below a third, or about a third (32%), expecting to depend on family savings to get them through. Reliance on government support registered at below ten percent (9%).
Concerns on the Environment
Generally, the majority of the respondents are not worried about environmental catastrophes (69%), as opposed to only slightly above 30 percent (31%) who do. In which case, environmental catastrophes overwhelmingly translate into flooding(s) (as the most commonly cited), with both instances of earthquakes and storm surges registering at a distant second. Landslides and mudslides barely cause worries, much less cyclones and tsunamis.
In the context of having personally experienced these environment-related catastrophes, a little above three forth of them (77%) claimed that they have been through these experiences already, as opposed to only 23% who declared they haven’t. In which case, these personal encounters most often centered on flood(s) or flooding(s). One third (33%) claimed that they have stayed in temporary evacuation, while a majority (67%) have not. Despite their experiences of environmental disasters, majority (71%) don’t know if their neighborhood has been officially declared as a disaster risk area.
When asked about their knowledge on weather conditions, majority of the respondents said that they know about tsunamis (at an overwhelming 92%). They also claimed to have knowledge about what low pressure areas (LPA) are (73%). Interestingly enough, knowledge and awareness of storm surges came out high (71%), courtesy of the continuing round of discussions that emanated across all media regarding the experience during Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
In the area of mobilizing community-based responses to environmental disasters, only 8% claimed they that have organized.
Using multiple responses, the respondents were asked to cite their common household preparations when it comes to dealing with emergencies. Stock candles and flashlights come in handy, as these registered the most number of responses, followed by stock food and water. They also relied on news updates on the radio as part of their preparation.
A little less than half of them (45%) are aware of disaster early warning system, compared to slightly above half (52%) who claimed that they are aware of a disaster response system. Majority of them (at 76%) claimed that they are not aware of some emergency evacuation drill. It’s not surprising that only 24% (slightly below a quarter, or a quarter) attend disaster preparedness training.
As to the officials and organizations who are primarily expected to assume responsibility in times of disaster, more than half of the respondents (61%) claimed that it should be the officials at the barangay level, followed by those at the city government at slightly below a quarter (24%). There is a strong clamor for coordination at the level of the local government unit (LGU) in times of disaster (78%), particularly when it comes to facilitating relief operations. Even more so, there is a resounding clamour for readiness in complying with mandatory orders (98%) when disaster strikes.
In view of these realities, the respondents strongly agreed that there should be cooperation within and among local initiatives (90%) when it comes to climate change management.
Davao City gets a thumbs up for the quality of its water (78%) and air (62%); general cleanliness is also very affirming at 71%.
Peace and Order Situation
Davaoeños generally have an idea of what peace and order means and what it implies. It is basically defined as an absence of the following social conditions: Illegal drug trafficking, juvenile delinquency and violence crimes. These top three responses are consistent with what they perceived to be threats to peace and order situations such as illegal drug trafficking, violence crimes, as well as terrorism (with gangs and juvenile delinquency coming in fourth). At any rate, they are generally worried (registering a total of 95%) about crimes and/or threat to crimes in the city, in the same manner that they are extremely worried about extra-judicial killings (69%), illegal drug transactions (66%), illegal drugs and illegal drug trafficking (65%), and terrorism and bomb threat (54%). In a separate question under the area of governance, drugs was consistently cited, among a multiple array of answers, as the most important problem that the city faces.
They have a better approximation of the decreasing crime rate in Davao City (with a total agree percentages of 88%) as opposed to that of Mindanao (totalling only 72%), in general. In the same manner, they also have a better appreciation of the improving peace and order situation in the city itself (with a total agree answer of 93%), as opposed to that of Mindanao, garnering only a little above three forth (77%).
In measuring their level of satisfaction on the handling of peace and order situation by law enforcement authorities in the city, they affirmed a total of 77% satisfaction index for the police, and an even bigger percentage (83%) for Task Force (TF) Davao.
The City Mayor, Hon. Rodrigo Duterte, remains the runaway favorite among local government officials by getting an overwhelming thumbs up for his handling of the city’s general peace and order situation (90%).
The respondents were asked about their willingness to cooperate in the observance of the city’s more controversial (and even pioneering) local ordinances. All strongly agreed responses were posted at above 50%, marking the respondents’ high cooperation index. Topping the list are the following: The banning of firecrackers (90%) which is a first in the country, followed by the liquor ban (74%), reduction of speed limit (70%) implemented only fairly recently, garbage segregation (69%) and anti-smoking (68%) which has been enforced for over a decade already. The willing cooperation of the citizens of Davao on the enforcement of these local ordinances show a great deal of goodwill and support for the local government exercising a strong political will on issues that matter to ordinary citizens of the city.
Does the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) get a fair hearing among Davaoeños? It may well be remembered that the historic CAB was signed in the later part of March this year, but the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) already became part of the consciousness of Mindanawons when it was signed on 15th October 2012 by this current government and its counterpart in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel. As to the survey result, more than half of the respondents (57%) cited that they are aware of it, getting their information mostly on television. Generally, they agreed that the CAB will improve the peace and order situation in Mindanao (registering a total response of 70%), the economy (71%), even improving the livelihood not only the Muslims (78%) but also of the Christians and Lumads (at 70% each).
Issues on Governance
Most Davaoeños (61%) are satisfied (between the qualifier very and somewhat) with the performance of the President of the Philippines, Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III. Similarly, the national government also gets high marks in this area. Compared to the country’s chief executive though, the senate gets only a 45% satisfaction nod in terms of its performance as the nation’s top policy-makers. In contrast, the congress performed better, with a little above half (53%) of the respondents posting a satisfaction rate.
A resounding majority (89%) are satisfied with the performance of the city mayor; surprisingly, or perhaps even unsurprisingly, the same percentage of people also gave the vice mayor a satisfaction rate. Both the city council and the city administration, in general, were given a satisfaction rating of 83%.
More than half of the Davaoeños (54%) observed the principle of subsidiarity because they believe that the city government—over and above the national government, or even the government at the barangay level—is the topmost organization responsible in solving the crime of drugs, posted earlier as the primary problem faced by the city.
In the allocation of the city budget, the respondents posted—using multiple answers—their top five responses: Education, health, disaster management, security and employment, though food also came in very closely at the 6th spot. As regard the national budget, respondents cited the same, in the following order: Education, health, disaster management, infrastructure, and employment, with food (again) occupying a close 6th spot.
There’s a seeming disparity as regard the respondents’ perception of the influence that they exercise, hence, bearing on the issue of political efficacy. More than three forth of them (77%) agreed that they see themselves exercising personal influence, and yet three percent below that number (at 74%) also agreed that the city government does not pay heed to the complaints that they, as people of influence, lodged. This inconsistency may be attributed to the fact the latter statement was stated negatively, whereas the first statement was not.
The majority of the respondents generally agreed (totalling 88%) that the city budget is appropriately allocated according to the people’s needs, with all of the ratings showing a high level of trust in the city government’s capacity to deliver goods and services to its constituencies. The following conditions rendered highly positive affirmations for Davao City’s LGU in the delivery of important social services: In times of fire, medical emergencies, relief operations, and violent outbreaks in the community, all posting an agreed rate totalling 94%; natural disasters (93%), bomb threat (92%), violence against women and children (91%), and hostage-taking (89%). Indeed, these are consistently high marks. In contrast, the national government’s capacity to do the same are rated in the following order: In times of natural disaster and relief and rescue operations (both totalling 89%), epidemic (88%), civil unrest (84%), national territorial disputes, the likes of which are the disputes surrounding the Spratlys, as well as threat to food security (both posted at 83%). Though these are still consistently high rates and highly affirming, the city government fared better than the national government as can be gleaned from the results.
In the context of going after law violators, the city government again is perceived to be better able to ensure that these elements are held liable for their wrongdoings (totalling 91%), while the national government is seen to be not too far behind at 87%.
It’s interesting to point out that, side by side with each other, it’s the local government that gets a much better approval rating than the national government in many areas of governance.
Identities and Treatment
This is the portion of the survey that garnered such reverberatingly high responses: That is, respondents answered very positively. A total of 95% agreed that the Lumads, or members of the indigenous peoples (IPs), as well as the elderly and the specially abled persons or persons with disability (PWD) are treated fairly among local citizens. Christians received an extraordinarily high treatment, with an answer posted as high as 98%, the highest rate so far in the survey. Treatment of Muslims, on the other hand, trailed by only two percent (at 96%).
Likewise, women are treated very fairly among Davaoeños at 97%, and the members of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) community also received a very high rating at 91%. That the city council passed a local ordinance on anti-discrimination, including a more localized form of the same at the barangay level, may have been largely credited for such remarkable and consistently high marks, indeed.
Regarding the respondents’ state of happiness at this point in their life, an overwhelming majority (90%) of Davaoeños declared themselves to be generally happy. (by M. Isabel S. Actub and Ms. Lourdesita Sobrevega-Chan with Ms. Mildred M. Estanda and Dr. Christine Diaz, for the University Research Council)