Filipinos optimistic for 2021

16 Dec

Filipinos optimistic for 2021

The PAHAYAG End-of-the-Year survey is an independent and non-commissioned poll done by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. covering the period of December 3-9, 2020. It is a nationwide purposive sampling survey comprised of 1500 respondents drawn from a research panel of approximately 100K Filipinos maintained by a Singapore-based firm. The survey research panel was restricted to registered voters. Parameters based on respondent age and location were also considered in the sample formulation in order for the resulting sample to conform more closely to the features of the voting population as defined by statistics from the COMELEC. The reading was divided by super regions: NCR, Northern and Central Luzon (NCL), Southern Luzon (SL), Visayas (VIS), and Mindanao (MIN).

The results suggest that most Filipinos can be viewed to be fairly optimistic in their personal, as well as the nation’s economic prospects for 2021. A majority of respondents (~75%) appear to be optimistic about their personal financial prospects for 2021 with optimism levels being observably lower among the oldest age groups. The majority of respondents (~70) also appear to be optimistic about the nation’s economic prospects for 2021 with optimism rising with income level. Optimism is markedly higher in NCR at almost 80%, indicating that they expect improvements in the Philippine economy in 2021.

Unemployment remains high among respondents at ~20% with around 70% of those unemployed indicating that they have some level of working experience.  Around a fifth of the respondents can be described as underemployed given that they are looking for more work. Over 50% of the respondents can be said to be fully employed. The ~20% unemployment rate, while high, is an improvement from the ~25% registered in the PAHAYAG-SONA survey (August 2020). It is of note, that unemployment is lowest in the NCR which could be argued to have borne the brunt of the economic impact of the pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns. These may be signs of an ongoing economic recovery as well as a realignment within the labor market – particularly within the NCR.

When asked on the work arrangements one prefers once the pandemic is over, a large proportion of respondents indicated that they want to go back into the office (~30% ALL DAYS to ~43% ALL DAYS + MOST DAYS). A larger proportion of males want to go back into the office (~35% vs ~27%). The desire to go back into the office appears to decrease with age – likely due to the suspected COVID related risks and complications among the elderly.

Nine (9) modules were analyzed in this run: state of the economy and economic prospects, assessment of COVID-19 responses, national issues, leadership scorecard, emotional quotient of leaders, media consumption habits and responses to media campaigns, predisposition, travel likelihood, and blended learning.

The last PAHAYAG survey was done in August 2020, right after the State of the Nation Address. PUBLiCUS has been doing commissioned surveys as early as 2007 and launched its PAHAYAG brand in 2017 as its CSR, addressing the need for timely, relevant, and actionable information. PUBLiCUS likewise introduced in its PAHAYAG surveys new metrics: Emotional Quotient (or the Love, Care and Solidarity Index), electoral predisposition instead of preference since there are no official list of candidates yet, as well as household sentiments to complement existing optimism metrics. PUBLiCUS also employs its proprietary software (CAPI instead of PAPI) to facilitate the rapid release of results. PUBLiCUS remains committed to ensuring data integrity and the quality of our analytical outputs.

PUBLiCUS currently uses a research panel (i.e. individuals recruited to answer surveys) instead of face-to-face due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. It is treated as a non-random sample as it did not give every element in the population a nonzero chance of selection, nor did it base sample selection through a fully randomized procedure. Instead, its sample is drawn according to a set of parameters or variables that conform to the population under consideration (i.e. samples have to be a certain age, gender, voter profile, etc.).


PUBLiCUS Asia, Inc.


Dr. David Yap II, PUBLiCUS Chief Data Scientist


Cellphone: 09171679643