Aquino's popularity plummets in poll

MANILA – Philippine President Benigno Aquino's popularity has sunk to its lowest level since he took office in 2010, owing to controversies over state fund disbursements, surveys showed Monday.

The results were released ahead of a televised address by Mr Aquino to address allegations of misappropriation of funds after the supreme court declared an economic stimulus programme unconstitutional.

His public trust rating dropped to 53% in the June-July survey of Pulse Asia Inc, from a high of 80% in October 2010. About 14% of respondents said they distrusted the president, up from only 2% in 2010.

A separate survey by the Social Weather Stations showed that 53% of 1,200 respondents were satisfied with Mr Aquino's performance, down from a high of 74% in November 2010. About 30% were dissatisfied, up from 10 per cent in 2010.

Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said the government was stepping up efforts to deliver key public services and implement reforms in the last two years of Mr Aquino's presidency.

"Heading into the last two years of this administration, we discern our people's rising expectations that government will level up and deliver on the salient points of the president's social contract," he said.

Mr Aquino's administration has been under growing criticism since the supreme court ruled last week that key provisions of the economic stimulus programme implemented by the government three years ago violated the constitution.

The president rejected the resignation of his budget secretary over the controversy, and defended the programme as necessary to to fast-track public spending for key services.

The government said it has released 157 billion pesos (about $3.7 billion) in state funds to support projects on health care, public works, housing and resettlement, agriculture, tourism, education and transportation since the programme began in late 2011.

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