With the culture of corruption, inefficient, incompetent operating manner, it’s not surprising that Puerto Rican citizens don’t trust the Puerto Rican government.
Earthquake victims don´t trust the government
52 percent of residents in the hard-hit areas doubt about the ability of government agencies to respond to these emergencies
Saturday, March 7, 2020 – 9:32 AM
Two months after the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that severely affected municipalities in the southwestern and central regions of the island, 52 percent of residents in these areas, have “little” or “no” trust in the ability of the state government to respond to future natural disasters.
The El Nuevo Día Survey also reflected that 35 percent of residents in these municipalities have “some confidence” in the government’s ability to respond to similar events, and only 13 percent said they have “high confidence.”
The most recent survey was conducted through personal interviews with a sample of 1,000 adults eligible to vote, with a 3.1 percent margin of error.
The survey also incorporates an oversample in the 16 municipalities that were originally included in the major disaster declaration issued by President Donald Trump. That sample of 400 respondents is composed of 174 participants from the main sample and 226 from the oversample. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.
The 16 municipalities originally included in the major disaster declaration were: Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Jayuya, Lajas, Lares, Maricao, Peñuelas, Ponce, San Germán, San Sebastián, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco. Nine additional towns were later included in the declaration.
Lack of preparation
38 percent of residents of these municipalities feel that government agencies in charge of addressing emergencies on the island should have been better prepared to deal with the situations triggered by earthquakes.
While 33 percent believe that there was no way for public agencies to be adequately prepared for large earthquakes, 29 percent do not know what to think about the current level of government preparedness to deal with the problems caused by frequent earthquakes in the area.
About the emergency response
For this edition of The Survey, respondents were asked to evaluate the work of different agencies, organizations and officials with ratings such as “very good”, “good”, “fair”, “poor” and “very bad”.
The Puerto Rico Seismic Network tops the list with 59 percent, including “very good” and “good”. While, 23 percent think it was “poor” and “very bad”, and 13 percent rate it as “fair.”
Likewise, 52 percent think the response by the private sector and citizens, in general, was “very good” and “good,” while 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively, think it was “poor” or “very bad.”
Residents of these municipalities believe Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced’s response was better than the third sector’s. 51 percent rated the work of the island’s first female governor as “good” and “very good,” compared to 45 percent who rated non-profit organizations as “good” and “very good”. However, 26 percent rated the governor´s response a “poor” and “very bad” and 23 percent gave a negative evaluation to the organizations of the so-called third sector.
Meanwhile, the Oversight Board was rated negatively by 51 percent of respondents of the 16 municipalities declared as major disaster areas.
The Legislature, the Family and Housing departments, the Aqueducts and Sewers Authority and President Trump were also rated negatively by 40 percent or more of those interviewed.
Mayors in the most affected areas
In the sample of 400 participants living in the affected areas, there was a specific question about how they would grade the six mayors of the municipalities most affected by the earthquakes: Guánica, Guayanilla, Lajas, Peñuelas, Ponce and Yauco.
Most of the mayors got “A” and “B”, except for the mayor of Ponce, María “Mayita” Meléndez.
For example, “A” and “B” grades total 48 percent for the mayor of Guánica, Santos Seda; 47 percent for the mayor of Guayanilla, Nelson Torres Yordán; 43 percent for the mayor of Lajas, Marcos “Turin” Irizarry; 41 percent for the mayor of Peñuelas, Gregory Gonsález; and 42 percent for the mayor of Yauco, Ángel Luis “Luigi” Torres. However, positive rates for the mayor of Ponce only total 35 percent.
“D” and “F” are also similar among most of the mayors, except for Ponce mayor whose bad rates total 28 percent.
26 percent of residents in the affected municipalities feel that most of the aid came from people who mobilized from other parts of the island to assist them. However, 38 percent feel that they have not received help from their fellow citizens and 36 percent did not know what to say or did not answer.
Meanwhile, 18 percent think most of the help came from private companies and another 18 percent believe it came from churches. 16 percent thought that the aid came from municipal governments, and 15 percent said it came through the National Guard. 10 percent say they received help from the central government, and 8 percent say it came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).