For a president of a country of 110 million souls, it is unpardonable to get only 2,000 views in a presidential address deemed important especially in this period of pandemic. Close to 250,000 Filipinos are now infected by the virus, that experts predict could reach 600,000 before the year ends–unless of course a vaccine suddenly comes out of the woodwork and provide the safest immunity against the virus’ virulence.
When Duterte began his regular presidential address, his online figures near astronomical expectations. His previous figures are not a surprise, since Duterte won by the sheer strength of online supporters mostly coming from Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs. And the palace admitted that it created a social media unit responsible for keeping the President’s image and reputation online sleek, spec and clean.
With these scandals hounding the administration’s handling of the pandemic, with the Senate initially finding several public officials responsible for siphoning off billions of pesos worth of PhilHealth funds and funding anomalies in the procurement of PPE’s and the distribution of ayuda, no wonder that Duterte’s online figures plummeted to a dismal level such as what we are seeing lately.
With his latest “show” garnering only 2,000 views, seems like a huge chunk of Duterte’s online supporters are now dismissing him and his propaganda tactics already. Several Netizens also noted how formerly staunch Duterte supporters are now eerily silent and conspicuously absent in major online discussions by liberal and non-liberal commenters against Duterte online.
Some propounded the idea that maybe even the budget being allocated by the Presidential Communications Office may have been re-allocated to other things such as anti-COVID 19 response. Duterte and his finance guy, Carlos Dominguez both admitted that the government is now lacking enough funds to sustain its campaign against the virus. Information had reached this writer that many government projects had been shelved and funds re-allocated to support various government health-related activities.
By the way, this writer noticed that the Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR failed to release their latest collection figures for this year. With Congress tackling the 2021 budget by this week, it is highly important for policy makers to determine if the revenue collections agency made its targets.
Seems like Congress is too keen on extending the powers given to this administration by way of another suspicious version of the One Bayanihan Act rather than acting on revenue collections. As one says, legislators may all make their projections and allocate budgets but these all depend on the sources of funds. Without adequate collection, how may these fine gentlemen and respected women fund their worthy projects?
Anyway, going back to our topic, this figure just show that Duterte may, indeed, have lost his popularity with the middle class. No amount of online survey undertaken by a profoundly pro-Duterte publicist is enough to mask the possible slide of Duterte’s popularity affected by Duterte’s own incompetence.