Posts Tagged ‘filipino values’

With Pinoy's high trust on P-Noy comes more expectations.

Pulse Asia’s March 2011 social weather survey on the Filipino’s peception towards President Noy-Noy Aquino’s performance informs consistency in the trust rating across regions in the country and comparative of its earlier survey of October 2010. Approval of the President’s performance is high by 5% and distrust is lower by 4%. Generally, the President’s trust rating is at 74% and disapproval is at 7%.

The survey points the difference in trust and disapproval of 1,200 Filipinos representing the population across classes and geographic areas, but it does not explain why the Filipino trust the president that much.

A qualitative study conducted by a group of PhD students from the University of the Philippines explored this phenomenon and found cultural links between public opinion and the president’s character, disposition and performance to explain how and why online readers trust PNoy that much (Rivera, Bana, Villena & Ortuoste, 2011).

In this study, the first 100 days of the President was explored by analyzing online texts or comments that readers posted in the inbox of a reputed national broadsheet. At an average, an inbox contains 60-80 comments and opinions from online readers, totalling 1000+ commentaries from Filipinos across the globe. Data from each inbox were openly coded, axially coded and thematized into categories and triangulated for agreement with existing literature and internally with data from other inboxes.

Intrinsic Trust Factors

Timothy Church (1986) surveyed the literature on ideal Filipino values. Comparatively, most of the ideals that Filipinos aspire for and  attributed as virtues are sensed to be evident in the President, by majority of the readers included in the study. The President, in his earlier 100 days, is trusted by 91% of the readers: 27% conditionaly; 15% moderately; and 49% highly. Only 6% have strong disapproval, while the remaining three express low trust and manifest cynicism.

The independent graduate research found that P-Noy is initially trusted because of his virtue (33%), his vision for the government and the country (21%), his political influence (15%), and his leadership qualities (13%). The other 15% of the readers’ commentaries did not provide reasons but expresses strong trust. But, this can be interpreted as to the Filipino’s context of tiwala na walang paliwanag to indicate full confidence or faith, or bulag na paniniwala to indicate fatalistic blind following.

From the analysis, the virtues that influence people’s trust on P-Noy pertain to his sinscerity, simplicity, practicaliy, humility, character to be on top, honesty, transparency and trustworthiness. He is perceived to be a visionary because of a belief that he can save the country from corruption and so make it better, as he is an agent of change who is able to manage government affairs. Although little than 5% believe that he has leadership qualities.

Moreover, his political influence is reflective of his personal circumstance being the son of two icons in Philippine democracy. Futher, he is trusted conditionally because he is voted by the people, and somehow he is doing his best as servant leader and as a role model. Over this is the strong belief that he carries the genese of his parents who were icons of democracy and fight against tyranny, which reverbs to his advocacy of getting rid of corruption in the government by taking the matuwid na daan (righteous path).

Extrinsic Trust Factors

Externally, this pakiramdam is influenced by elements that are not isolated from the Filipino self, within the shared network of meanings or cultural matrix. What becomes known to the public are those presented by the media or Presidential communication’s office. The people’s perceptions are also influenced by what they hear and share about the President.

Englehart & Welzel (2005) posits that the sociohistorical heritage of a people influence their value system and that of cultural change in a nation. The trust that most Filipinos place on P-Noy is a reflection of this relatinship between the people’s political history and their value system. Another thing that makes Filipinos trust the President is that because other’s trust him as well.

The prevailing value system of the Filipinos influence an individual to put trust to another person. Clammer (1996) explains that in Southeast Asian cosmology, our cultural values bound by kinship affect our relationships and even the political processes in our nation. In this case, our value system influences our political views that we share to and put upon others. This translates to a public opinion that politicians consider a lot.

Filipino Measure of Political Trust

Trust or tiwala is an intrinsic schema or pakiramdam and value or pamantayan that a Filipino shares from his sarili (self) with his  kapwa (fellow). Magaan ang loob (light-hearted) is a Filipino to someone who shares interests, values and ideals, similar to his. The intersubjectivity of the Filipino value of self with others is shared and influence the fostering of relationships bound on trust.

In the people’s pakiramdam, they sense the sincerity of the President in fulfilling his promise of matuwid na daan and paglaban sa korupsyon. But this disposition may change, when it becomes less manifest in the government under the authority and command responsibility of the President. 

Political trust which is measured as the predominant degree of intersubjective confidence or approval between sarili and kapwa, for the Filipino, operates in the balance between intrinsic standards and extrinsic elements that influence their mindset to share positive attitude towards a fellow or any member of the national community. For a Filipino to trust his kapwa, the other person must demonstrate the desirable and ideal virtues that is valuably shared and reflects the ideals of the Filipino personhood or pagkatao.

While there are cynics that can influence other’s opinion, the President still needs to prove his leadership in governance, not just to convince those who do not trust for the Filipino people and the country in general. He was voted and elected in the first place because he ushered hope for to “save” the country even if he is not perceived to possess the leadership necessary to run the goernment. His challenge remains to keep his words and assume authority duly placed upon him to protect the country’s reputation.  


Church, T. A. (1986). Filipino personality, a review of research and writings. Monograph Series No. 6. Manila: De La Salle University Press.

Clammer, J. (1996). Values and development in Southeast Asia. Selangor, Malaysia: Pelanduk Publications.

Englehart, R. & Welzel, C. (2005). Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy. Cambridge University Press.

Pulse Asia Inc. (March 21, 2011). Presidential Performance and Trust Ratings and National Administration Trust Ratings. Media relsease from Tabunda, A. M. L. PhD., Chief Research Fellow. Manila, Philippines.

Rivera, R. C. II, Bana, R. Jr., Villena, N., & Ortuoste, J. R. A. (2011). P-Noy Online: Social Constructions of Public Expectations to President Benigno S. Aquino III in his first 100 days. [Unpublished reseach]. College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines.

More than 25 years ago, I mused myself watching from our well-off neighbor’s television set, aside from listening to our small AM-FM radio.  Since, we didn’t have our TV set until 1980’s, I enjoyed most of my childhood years in real play with other children in the neighborhood. But in the morning at weekends when we have time, we would watch Sesame Street, before Batibot came in the picture. Batibot in the vernacular means small but strong and robust, which only shows that it can have a comeback and withstand commercialism in the media.

Batibot premiered in the mid 80s, it was like the localized version of Sesame Street. If I remember it right, there was even a time that Sesame Street was aired using the vernacular. It was a better decision for the Children’s Television Network that produced Sesame Street to have helped the Philippine TV have its own children’s program similar in format to Sesame. What saddens me though is due to legalistic constraints, as that of property and licensing rights, children who were getting to love Kiko Matsing and Pong Pagong would have to missed them from the show.

Sesame Street: The American children's show that taught and entertained Filipino kids in the 80s.

Sesame was localized introducing Pong Pagong and Kiko Matsing

I guess that demonstrates capitalistic apathy to children.  I did not have this understanding of the situation when I was kid. But I missed Kiko Matsing and Pong Pagong. All that remain of them is memory of their classic friendship. People my age now, can still recall the vivid images of those two adorable and amusing characters. But because they are owned by Sesame Workshop, and probably the fees to use them are exhorbitant, we have to lose two cultural and media icons in Philippine television.

Pong and Kiko found a home under the local sun in Batibot with Ate Shena and Kuya Bodjie and others.


If we think about Kiko and Pong now, they are just probably rutting in the storage rooms (as mascots). As animated icons of the show, the new generations may never see them again. What is the use for them any way in other children’s shows? Can the Sesame Workshop (formerly CTVN) show them in their international shows? That I would contest, for the names of these figures are culturally ours. Should culture then be patented like mascots, for us to have claim of them. The pagong and the matsing are not they taken from Jose Rizal’s fable? 

Where have they gone?

The issue is beyond licensing, franchising and intellectual property. The issue to keep Pong Pagong and Kiko Matsing locked up in stock rooms, because of licensing concerns, is a moral dispute rather than economical or legalistic. I say it’s a moral issue, because the foundation keeps the Filipino Children from the right to enjoy their childhood. It is a moral issue because the foundation has taken away from this country a culturally valued artifact. Yes, it is true that the foundation brought them to life, but it is in Philippines that they have gained that life.

If Kiko Matsing and Pong Pagong, which speaks Filipino and personifies Flipino values, could speak on their own, I am pretty sure they would say “take us home to the Filipino Kid’s hearts”.

After knowing that Batibot is coming back via ABC 5 every Saturdays at 8:30 AM starting November 27, and thinking of what’s preventing Kiko and Pong to be in Batibot, I felt so guilty. I felt so guilty that I patronize Sesame Workshop’s goods that are available in the Philippine Market. I felt guilty that I bought a nice Elmo shirt which would support the workshop. I felt guilty that I am supporting a foundation that has no genuine concern for children. The workshop owes the Filipino more than we owe them, and serving the children of the world is beyond economic gains.

The 21st century Batibot, on ABC5 Saturdays 8:30 AM