Filipinos expect COVID-19 unlikely to slowdown—survey

Published August 13, 2020, 6:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Majority of Filipinos see no light at the end of the tunnel yet as they expect the Philippines’ coronavirus crisis would further worsen in the second-half of the year, a new survey by the insurance firm Manulife revealed yesterday.

Based on the Manulife Asia Care Survey that covered 300 insurance owners in the Philippines, 58 percent of the respondents believed that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is unlikely to slowdown and would get more serious until the end of the year.

According to the Manulife survey, conducted in late May or before the Philippines emerged as Southeast Asia’s coronavirus hot spot, Filipinos were already the second most pessimistic in region on the likelihood that COVID-19 would slowdown in the next six months.

Filipinos’ pessimism level is well above the 41 percent average among the eight markets surveyed by Manulife in Asia, and only ranks behind Indonesians, who emerged as the most defeatist in the region.

Amid their gloomy outlook, Filipinos have expressed concern about the pandemic’s long-term impact on the local economy and their day-to-day living, but at the sometime, are also willing to adapt to healthier lifestyles and digital services.

The survey revealed that 98 percent of its Filipino respondents adapted new lifestyle habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, while 64 percent have found ways to be more physically healthy today, the highest percentage than all of the other markets surveyed.

Yet, in terms of tracking their mental health status, only 27 percent had adapted this new habit since the outbreak started in the country.

Filipinos also showed greater willingness to switch to using online services, such as online chats and online payment (79 percent) and using online tools for news and socialization (both 63 percent) since the start of the pandemic.

Switching shopping from the traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online vendors among Filipinos is also quite substantial, with 46 percent of the respondents stated that they now prefer e-commerce than the offline sellers. Lastly, the Manulife survey also showed that there is growing interest among Filipinos in getting additional insurance coverage, as 77 percent of those surveyed plan to buy new additional insurance in the next 18 months, well above the regional average of 62 percent.

Life (33 percent), health (29 percent) and hospitalization (31 percent), accident (28 percent) and critical illness (27 percent) are the main new insurance products being considered by Filipinos.