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Sukat ng Bayan: 4 out of 5 Filipinos back government action on climate change

Global Warming Concept Heavy Smoke From Industrial Chimneys On Philippines Flag Background With Place For Your Logo Industrial 3d Illustration

The latest Sukat ng Bayan survey finds 89% of respondents believe that a government response to climate change is important. The research also revealed the following:

  • Out of the total 2000 respondents, 92% expressed awareness of climate change. 
  • 92% say they believe that the Philippines is affected by climate change.
  • 86% of respondents understand that climate change is bad for both the environment and the livelihood of Filipinos. (Please refer to Table 1.)
  • 6% answered that they have insufficient knowledge about climate change to make a statement about its impact on the Philippines.

TABLE 1

ON CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECT ON THE PHILIPPINES

March 13-24, 2021 / National online survey

EFFECT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON PHRespondents (%)
It is bad for the environment and livelihood of Filipinos86%
It is bad for the environment only3%
It is bad for the livelihood of Filipinos only2%
It is good for the environment and livelihood of Filipinos2%
It is good for the environment only0%
It is good for the livelihood of Filipinos only0%
I do not have enough knowledge about this6%
TOTAL100%

Q51. Sa iyong pagkakaintindi, anong epekto ng climate change sa Pilipinas?

Climate change in the Philippines

Being located in the most typhoon-prone region in the world, the Philippines is particularly vulnerable to climate change, with recent studies ranking the country within the top 3 most at risk to the climate crisis. The exposure to various natural disasters (typhoons, landslides, floods, droughts), the dependence on climate-sensitive resources, and the proximity of major cities and settlements to the coastlines make the Philippines highly vulnerable. With the increase of global temperature and the rising of sea levels, natural disasters like typhoons and storm surges become stronger and thus more dangerous to the cities in their path. The Germanwatch 2020 Global Climate Risk Index reported that the Philippines was the second most affected country in 2018, with a death toll of almost 500 attributable to natural disasters exacerbated by climate change. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reports, while there has not been a significant increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones in the past 50 years, there is an increase in those “with maximum sustained winds of greater than 150kph and above (typhoon category) being exhibited during El NiÑo event”. As pointed out by Dr. Jeff Masters, seven of the 10 strongest landfalls in recorded history occurred since 2006, five of which hit the Philippines. On top of this, the Philippines has experienced 20 category 5 supertyphoons since 1952. That the Philippines was struck by Typhoon Rolly, last year’s strongest storm and the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record with one-minute sustained winds of 315 kph, is further evidence of the trend that storms have been getting stronger in the last few decades. 

Aside from more catastrophic typhoons, climate change also brings about other ecological and social threats. These include: coral bleaching, declining rice yields, longer droughts, water scarcity, rising sea level, higher incidences of disease, and increased violence against women and indigenous people. These, in turn, will lower labor productivity, compromise public health, force communities to relocate, and increase fatalities. 

Other recent studies inquiring into Filipinos’ perception on climate change present similar and/or complementary insights. A 2020 research study published by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) shows “71% of Filipinos believed that they would be at least “somewhat affected” by climate change. Among them, 46% reported that they would likely get harmed, injured, or ill due to climate change”. Another poll published by Statista in January 2020 shows that 65% of respondents believe that climate change is a serious and immediate threat to the well-being of the country.

Interestingly, the HHI study — the data for which was collected in 2017 — revealed low public awareness about climate change among Filipinos. On a national level, 60% reported to have not heard of climate change, or felt they lacked knowledge about it. While the Sukat ng Bayan polling is not a representative study, that 92% of respondents in the survey claimed to be aware of the issue can be hopefully indicative that awareness of climate change has risen in the last 3 years. 

Sukat ng Bayan Q1 2021

Sukat ng Bayan is a non-commissioned, quarterly nationwide opinion polling conducted by iOptions Ventures. 

This survey reached and asked 2,000 respondents from all over the Philippines questions about their current economic situation and outlook, perceptions on current political and governance landscape, COVID-19 related concerns in the country, and other timely socio-political issues. 

Sukat ng Bayan Q1 2021 was conducted online from March 13-24, 2021. With convenience sampling employed for this survey, the researchers used Facebook as its main recruitment channel in order to reach the widest audience. In view of this, results from this online survey shall not be construed as representative of the Filipino population.

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