The opinion survey organization Social Weather Stations (SWS) has been polling the nation’s views on a variety of subjects for decades. The findings are of particular interest to politicians during election periods. But they are important at anytime of the year as they reveal what the people think and feel on a variety of issues to help guide the country’s officials in the process of democratic governance.
One regular survey it has conducted four times a year since 1984 has been on whether the people think their quality of life will improve in the next 12 months. The latest survey for the fourth quarter of the year was conducted last November 21-25.
The key results: 44 percent of the 1,500 respondents said yes, they believe their quality of life will improve in the next 12 months. A group of 36 percent said they expect their lives to stay the same . And 9 percent said no, they think the next 12 months will be even worse.
This has been a most difficult time for the nation – along with the rest of the world – because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It hit us in March, causing the government to impose a severe lockdown on Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.
The virus managed to spread despite the government’s restrictions that were imposed in varying degrees of severity in various parts of the country. They continue in Metro Manila and a few other parts of the country to this day and they have just been extended for another 30 days up to the end of January, 2021.
The lockdowns changed life as we know it in so many ways. Businesses and offices, churches, schools, hotels, wherever people could gather and thus transmit the virus, were closed. Official holidays, church holidays, celebrations of all kinds were cancelled. Fortunately, restrictions were relaxed so we could have Christmas and New Year, although still with so many limitations.
But Filipinos are forever hopeful in the face of the most difficult times. This is shown in the SWS survey last November, where 44 percent of the people said they look forward to better times in the next 12 months, with 36 percent expecting not much change, and only 9 percent seeing worse times ahead.
The SWS also measured a “net personal optimism” among the respondents. In the November poll, it was considered ”very high” at plus-35, compared to minus-19 in May, minus-10 in July, and plus-2 in September. In the midst of the lockdown, with all its restrictions on the movements of people, with all the business closures and job losses, with all the cancellations of church services and holiday celebrations, the quarterly surveys during this year showed a steady improvement in the people’s ”personal optimism.”
Our people, as ever, see the brighter side of things in any bad situation. We will thus survive the COVID-19 pandemic and we will survive it well.