Filipinos demand better transport solutions amid pandemic — study

Published October 27, 2020, 1:07 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

More Filipinos expect the Duterte administration to intensify and enhance its efforts to solve transportation concerns during the pandemic, a study conducted by polling and data analytics firm WR Numero Research showed. 

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In the research study titled “Public Transportation Amid a Pandemic: Digital Perceptions and Sentiments,” it was found that the majority of Filipinos were “dissatisfied” with the government’s efforts to solve transportation woes amid the national health situation. 

Based on the results, about 54 percent of Filipinos were “unhappy,” “very unhappy,” and are “unsure” of the range and depth of the government’s initiatives to help provide safe, secure, and adequate transportation means during the crisis. 

The balance of 46 percent is composed of respondents who are either “very happy” or “happy” with the government’s response to transport issues during the pandemic. 

“As Filipinos adjust to the demands of the national health situation, they are also demanding for the government to do more to solve transport issues during the pandemic. They are expecting the government to adopt better policies and that these should be implemented properly,” WR Numero Research Chief Executive Officer Prof. Robin Garcia said in a virtual briefing.

The study also looked into the public’s digital perceptions and sentiments on five transport issues such as the reopening of more routes for public utility vehicles (PUVs); increased passenger capacity in railway systems; financial aid for jeepney drivers; completion of the Skyway Stage 3; and corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). 

Demand for more options, but concerned about health implications 

According to the study, 38 percent were asking the government to add more routes in Metro Manila where the majority of the workers are currently situated. 

Likewise, 26 percent of Filipinos were calling for the return of provincial buses, while another 25 percent criticized the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the administration for the apparent lack of routes and public transport supply.

Aside from this, the study also found that the government’s initiative to increase the seating capacity of train lines in Metro Manila was generally met with negative reactions, as 34 percent think that the directive will result in more COVID-19 cases, and another 19 percent criticized the government for this decision. 

More support for transport stakeholders 

Meanwhile, the study also showed that 20 percent are sympathetic to jeepney drivers who have been displaced by the pandemic, while 20 percent criticized the government for insufficient assistance to them.

However, this did not sit well for a good 31 percent who criticized the drivers and asked them to seek other sources of income, while another 20 percent accused government officials of pocketing funds that were allotted for aid.

Better policies sought

The study also found that Duterte’s moral support is “slowly diminishing” due to the alleged corruption in the DPWH which was met with negative reactions from Filipinos that attributed the corruption claims to the President. 

It showed that 43 percent criticized Duterte for this news, and another 29 percent said they believe corruption is still rampant in the DPWH and other agencies. Meanwhile, 21 percent demanded the death penalty for corrupt officials. 

“Our study found that Filipinos are demanding for better policies and actions on the part of the government to make life in the new normal much better. We believe that through this research, the government may form sound strategies on how to provide Filipinos with adequate, safe, and efficient modes of transportation during the pandemic,” Garcia added.

The WR Numero Research said mobile app-based survey form “Tangere” was used to conduct the study among 5,000 adult respondents nationwide from October 13 to 25.

It also used its unique proprietary digital listening and sentiment analysis software called “Pathos” to collect and process millions of digital data, specifically Facebook data including posts, engagements, and sentiments.

 
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