Tuesday, August 14, 2007

EDSA Tres and the Filipino Majority

Ten days ago over at Manolo's, i made the following comment...
grd, to me mlq3’s blog site roughly* represents the sensibilities of the EDSA Dos crowd which has fragmented to different camps because of Gloria’s illegitimacy. ellen’s site roughly* represents EDSA Tres and therefore the Filipino majority. Our nation can only move forward if both sections of our society engage in an honest dialogue, but that can only be built on an atmosphere of mutual respect. As it is, i see that many over here still subscribe to your (and Benign0’s) attitude of refusing to empathize and understand and instead assuming an air of unwarranted superiority. Just as One Voice is supposed to reunite the EDSA Dos crowd, there should be an equivalent attempt to do so between EDSA Dos and EDSA Tres camps. As it is, post election dynamics seems to be going the opposite direction.

* Please note emphasis on the ‘roughly’.
...to which Rom reacted:
"cvj:just a minor quibble - edsa tres cannot represent the majority of the nation, whether numerically or ideologically."
I promised an explanation so i did some research. I got hold of this book that Manolo recommended two weeks back and this in turn led me to the Pulse Asia’s October 2005 Ulat ng Bayan Survey Report: Media Release on People Power. The survey reports on the in EDSA, EDSA Dos and EDSA Tres. As shown in the table below, for the latter, it was at around 2 percent nationwide:
Source: Pulse Asia

Two percent of the adult (over 18) population is around 1 million, clearly not a majority but we already knew that. The real question is, how much support did the crowd have? This is answered by the survey question on the level of support for such a mass action which according to the table below is eight percent nationwide:

Source: Pulse Asia

Eight percent is about eight million, again clearly not a majority. To cross-validate this data, we can use the votes given to Loi Ejercito Estrada during the May 2001 elections as proxy for support of EDSA Tres which is at 10.5 million.

Therefore**, linking the EDSA Tres crowd to the majority does not stand up to scrutiny. On this assertion, I stand corrected. Whatever electoral majority that the Opposition achieved in the recent elections has sources other than (or in addition to) that particular People Power event.

** Assuming the above survey results are representative of the general population and subject to the margin of error.

4 comments:

Arbet said...

Hi, Chuck. I always maintain a certain attitude when it comes to surveys. I treat it like a poisoned apple. Sure, surveys are scientific, but they can always go wrong, even if errors are remote.

That being said, one explanation that I can think of is that some people are slow (or in denial for sometime) in getting the clearer picture.

Rom is wrong in the sense that again surveys are never 100% representative of what people really thinks. Take note of her statement: "cannot represent". Taking into account what happened after May 1, 2001, can she still say that now?

And "cannot represent": wow, such arrogance. She should have added "will not" and "shall not" for maximum effect.

torn said...

Well done for always trying to back up your positions with statistics, even if, as in this case, they don't support your a priori position.

About the data on the people who actually attended rallies -- this doesn't take into account the extent to which crowds were hakot or not.

I attended an EDSA III rally at EDSA shrine and I can definitely attest to the free lunches being handed out.

More generally, I hear a lot about the need for national reconciliation in the Philippines, not least from the current president. However, I wonder whether that is what the country really needs. I think it could be argued that one of the reasons for the disappointments of the post-1986 period has been the high value put on reconciliation, unity, and other nice sounding words (which come at the cost of justice, integrity, and sticking to your beliefs).

In fact that has been the biggest failure of the Arroyo administration I think -- the desire to placate everyone (at least the last person she spoke to).

cvj said...

Hi Arbet, i do realize that surveys may be manipulated or may be mistaken but that particular survey (October 17 to 25, 2005 by Pulse Asia) is the same one used in the 'Understanding Poverty' book by the Institute for People Power and Development of the Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Foundation so i choose to take it at face value for now. Anyway, i feel the need to back down from that 'EDSA Tres represents the Majority' assertion as it is an unecessarily strong version of my previous comment in that same thread, where i said:

"...i think Ellen’s blog has the pulse of the majority of Filipinos. That was proven by the results of the Senatorial elections especially in the case of Trillanes." (July 29th, 2007 at 11:04 pm)

Three days later, as a reaction to commenter 'grd', i then made that 'EDSA Tres represents the Majority' remark which is harder to defend.
I still maintain that Ellen's blog represents the sentiments of the majority and i still believe that Ellen and her commenters roughly represent the EDSA Tres crowd. However combining these two assertions to say that EDSA Tres represents the Majority is less tenable.

Of course, it is still true EDSA Tres represents a significant segment of the population, at the very least they represent themselves, and perhaps as many as the 10 million that voted for Loi Estrada in May 2001. By no means can they be described as 'a handful'.

cvj said...

Hi Torn, thanks. On the relative proportions of the 'hakot' crowd and the true believers, i would go by Manolo's estimate. By far, i think the biggest single segment are the followers of El Shaddai and Iglesia Ni Cristo which can be called 'hakot' only if we categorize those Catholics who answered Cardinal Sin's appeal in February 1986 in the same way.

Regarding national reconciliation, i agree with what you say about the primacy of justice, integrity and conviction. However, what is at issue is mutual distrust brought about mainly, by the disrespect that the Upper and Middle classes have shown towards the poor majority via the former groups' tacit support for Gloria Arroyo. I believe that the decent elements of EDSA Dos and EDSA Tres, i.e. the true believers in the aspirations of each side, need to engage in an honest dialogue which includes airing of grievances towards each other, but more importantly, formulating a way forward that makes less use of thugs and warlords on one side, and populist demagogues on the other.