Pinoy cynicism surfaces in new election poll

By Limuel S. Celebria

I got invited to a zoom presentation Wednesday morning by this new online group Tangere, a self-proclaimed award-winning research group and big data analytics platform. Tangere was offering to share the results of a recent online survey – The Voice of the Online Filipinos, a series of insightful deep-dive in the sentiments of the Filipino voters in the upcoming elections, the blurb said.

With nothing better to do than wait for Typhoon Odette to come, I clicked on the provided link. The zoom opened to a young man, identified as Martin Penaflor, Founder and CEO of the digital research group Tangere, making the presentation. Immediately my cynicism kicked in.

Who’s this guy, I asked Google? It turned out he’s got some serious “streetcreds”, so to speak — CNN Final Pitch Grand Winner 2019, Asia Leaders Awards Winner 2019, Ginebra Ako Awards 2020 Winner, among others. And he’s been hanging out with Go Negosyo founder, Joey Concepcion, and the Department of Trade and Industry which selected him as a mentor for emerging entrepreneurs in the IT sector to help make their vision come to life. He is also a proud member of JCI Manila and is its commissioner for Training and Leadership. I’m quoting, okay?

Anyway, the Tangere survey was conducted December 13. A series of questions were blasted to the mobile phone numbers of  1,200 respondents from National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The number of respondents for age, gender, economic standing, etc were also presented but I didn’t bother.

The results:

– One in every two Filipinos believe that should Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. or Vice President Leni Robrero win the presidency, it will mark the return of traditional politics in the Philippines.

“More than half of the respondents at 52 percent, believe that the existence of Marcos-Leni and/or Liberal Party can be considered as a comeback to traditional politics. This belief is driven by NCR residents and those who voted for Roxas in 2016,” Martin Peñaflor said.

– Furthermore, there is a growing sentiment of hopelessness among Filipinos and a big number of them are thinking of leaving the Philippines for a better country if either of the frontrunners wins in the coming elections. Two in five, particularly those in the Class E income bracket or the less fortunate, do not expect improvement in their lives if either Marcos or Robredo wins in the elections and that neither can reduce inequality.

It is ironic that the poorest sector of the economy is distrustful of the election early frontrunners considering that both supposedly champion the poor,” Peñaflor said. “A surprising 51 percent of the respondents agree that Leni and BBM are more focused on fighting each other and are looking for alternative leaders who will champion their interest as shown in the research for their preference towards Moreno and Pacquiao.”

Likewise, the survey said two of five Filipinos said it would be better to leave the country to settle or work elsewhere regardless of who will win the presidency between BBM and Leni. The sentiment is strongest among Visayans, the survey added.

Asked to comment if they believe Marcos Jr. is as strong a leader as his father, 30 percent of the respondents said “No.”

A female respondent, aged between 18 and 25, was quoted as saying, “Ang ama n’ya ay tunay na matalino at magaling na strategist. Si BBM ay wala akong alam na matinding kontribusion sa bansa lalo na nitong pandemic. ‘Di ko s’ya ramdam.” (His father is a known for his intelligence and a great strategist. However, I have no knowledge regarding BBM’s great contribution for the country, especially during the pandemic. I don’t feel him.)

While another female from the National Capital Region, aged between 36 and 50 said BBM has no track record in extending assistance to the Filipinos.

“’Di tumutulong sa mahihina na Pilipino. Walang kumpletong plataporma. Hindi nakatapos ng abogasya o ekomista,” the respondent said. (He has not extended assistance to the people. There is no concrete platform [of government]. He has not finished his law studies and he is not an economist.)

In sum, there is quite a ton of cynicism that has bubbled up to the surface in this poll which, I think also resonates on social media, particularly on Facebook. While some of the results will certainly raise eyebrows in disbelief or disagreement, we will not be surprised to see more as the presidential race continues to heat up. Discernment is the key.