DuterteriorationTrolls

Duterte’s high-approval ratings supported by an army of internet trolls

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The Duterte administration has since been rocked by scandals after scandals starting with the incompetent handling of the Taal Volcano calamity response where the President himself slashed the calamity budget despite knowing that the alert level in Taal Volcano has since been upgraded. Then came the  massive corruption scandals in the Bureau of Immigration where Chinese nationals get priority processing of tourist and work VISA’s to enter the country without being checked. A situation that is far reaching circumstances when a deadly virus from China easily slipped past authorities’ noses and since then have been slow to react regarding the situation.

Weeks of back-and-forth lying to try and quell public outrage on the regime’s surprising reluctance to ban Chinese POGO operations in the country after some of its members were caught with an ID of the Chinese Army and many has even built military firing range in their occupied villas prompting an in-depth Senate investigation on the matter with the Armed Forces of the Philippines seriously investigating the matter with utmost diligence so they say.
Public sentiment obviously has been at all time low these days and the regime has to do everything to keep them positively popular and with the same methods of manipulation to control the masses. And true – enough, many have surely been expecting that its propaganda machine will start churning out haft-truths and cooked-up lies to patch up the government’s incompetence.
One of which is the release of the much-expected ”High Satisfaction Rating” from the SWS (Social Weather Stations). For all we know, these are merely 1,200 or 1,500 people carefully selected by the company to answer questionnaires or be asked with specific questions by an interviewer regarding their take on the President and or his policies.
Surely, 1,200 or 1,500 people isn’t really much of a big number anyways. Considering it’s only about 0.0024193548387096775% of the entire Philippine adult population. Not even comparable to the huge number of activists and protesters who marched to call out the regimes glaring human rights violations and the corruption scandals hitting many of its appointed officials.
To compare, The Juan Luna Blog has a solid following of around 50,000 people.Please note that these are real people and not some internet trolls or bots as I would not have the fund to pay up that many people just to follow my blog as opposed to the government’s intelligence budget possibly used to bribe fake news bloggers and internet trolls.
So, with that number alone, the SWS/Pulse Asia survey sampling size would surely be dwarfed by more than 10 folds. Duterte’s approval rating should be negative 99%
But why? Well, like all commercial institutions. These companies had to make money and in order to make money they had to of course be aligned to organizations and positions of power with influence and money. Of course.
Like for example, on their website they mentioned having the following income streams to sustain their data gathering and fieldwork.
1. Charging subscription fees to clients for the privilege of advance information available in the Social Weather Surveys;
2. Accepting commissioned questions in the Social Weather Survey operating as an omnibus;
3. Contracting for social surveys in areas of its expertise;
4. Charging fees for training and consultancy on a case-to-case basis.
They added a link to the subscription fees for advance information. However, this link no longer works and its likely have not been offered since. Other income streams were out of commissioned questions which might likely be from organizations or personalities aligned with the administration. The possibilities are endless.
Simply put, a self-supporting non-subsidized academic institution without a clear revenue model to draw funds from surely would not be able to operate as expected. How would they pay up their field workers? Their employees? It surely doesn’t make any sense.
If the SWS Survey/Pulse Asia Survey would be so keen in ensuring transparency than they would have utilized the power of the Internet and allow people to vote in verified online-polls that should give us a much clearer number on the people’s sentiments and convictions.
Just like RAPPLER’s ”Mood Meter” for example, which displays how people feel about certain issues. If they want to rev up their survey sampling strategy, then they should have surely utilized Facebook Live or YouTube Live interviews of their supposed respondents.
How do we know they are actual people and that they really responded to their questionnaires without being coached or promised with gifts and bribes to be favoring a certain politician?
Surprisingly, after the release of the SWS survey where the Philippine President despite all the corruption scandals and timid response to Tall Volcano calamity and coronavirus outbreaks gets a whooping “Excellent” +73 rating from its 1,200 or 1,500 respondents.
Thousands of trolls were unleashed in social-media attacking posts and comments made against the President and then using the recently announced favorable SWS survey to show that many Filipinos were still happy of his leadership. Although, this is beyond common-sense and that any man or woman would have surely understood the ill-effects of Duterte’s leadership in their lives.
Copy/Paste attack using the same or almost the same script weaponizing SWS Survey’s recent favorable survey for the President.
Regardless, it seems that the majority of the Filipinos don’t really care at all. So long as the truth continues to be suppressed and whitewashed through propaganda, fake news and intimidation using an army of trolls hell bent on attacking anyone in the Internet who dare criticize their patron will be relentlessly shamed and threatened with pictures of them Photoshopped and then posted in message boards and sites supportive of the regime. The troll attack even resulted to manipulate screenshots framing unsuspecting dissenters as government destabilizers and slapping them with legal charges.
I think the best weapon against ignorance aren’t just facts alone, but reason and common-sense. Without it, we surely be ruled by Orwellian autocracy fooling us to our wits end. We have to think more and believe less. We have to understand the issues and try to weight things up not only because the numbers lie or do not lie but because everything just doesn’t add up. And if everything doesn’t up add at all then clearly — it’s not believable.

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