By JESUS F. LLANTO
Most Filipinos think that the next president should be pro-poor and should focus on preventing the soaring prices of the basic commodities and reducing poverty, a survey by polling firm Pulse Asia showed.
The Ulat ng Bayan Survey held from July 1-14, 2008 showed that almost four out of 10 (39%) Filipinos thinks that being pro-poor is the most important characteristic the next president should possess.
Aside from being pro-poor, the next president, the survey showed, should be able to enforce law equally on influential as well as ordinary people (35%) and be knowledgeable in the management of government (34%). Respondents also think that the next president should be trustworthy (29%) and fight anomalies in the government (28%)
Being pro-poor is cited as the most important characteristic of the next president by 41% of respondents from Luzon and 50% of respondents from Mindanao.
Respondents from the National Capital Region, however, said the most important quality of the next president is being able to enforce the law equally on influential and ordinary people (43%) while those from the Visayas being knowledgeable in managing the government (47%) is the most important.
Popularity, however, occupied the last spot in the list of most important characteristics of the future president. Only 1 percent thinks that being popular is the most important attribute of the next president should possess.
Other characteristics that are cited important by only few respondents include having integrity and good reputation (8%), being able to produce concrete results (8%), and having a good family background or lineage (3%).
Rising prices and poverty
Meanwhile, respondents also think that the next president should focus immediately on problems like rising prices and poverty reduction.
Nearly seven out of 10 (67%) believe that the next president should focus on preventing rapid increase in prices of basic necessities while almost half of the them (49%) think that reducing the great poverty of many Filipinos should be the immediate focus of the future president.
Consumer prices have reached double-digit levels and in July it soared to 12.2 percent, the highest since December 1991.
Meanwhile, data from the National Statistical Coordination Board showed that poverty incidence in the Philippines worsened from 2003 to 2006 and that there are 4.7 million families or 27.6 million Filipinos who are classified as poor.
Other top concerns cited by respondents include eradicating widespread graft and corruption in the government (43%), creating sufficient jobs or livelihood (42%) and curbing widespread criminality (28).