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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sex not a source of happines but...

By Cai Ordinario
Reporter/October 10/ Business Mirror

DESPITE Filipinos’ interest in politics and the country’s high population growth rate, politics and sex are among the least important sources of happiness for most Filipinos, according to the recent pilot study for the Philippine Happiness Index conducted by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

NSCB Secretary General Dr. Romulo Virola discussed the results of the pilot study in his column “Statistically Speaking,” published regularly on the agency’s web site.

Virola said, however, that while politics was consistent in its low rankings, sex life—which is “not an important source of happiness” for Filipinos—gives many Filipinos a very high level of happiness compared with other pursuits.

“Sex life is not considered important, but, boy, 72.6-percent enjoyment of sex is not bad, if work could only give 71 percent, leisure and sports, 70 percent, financial security, 68.8 percent, and cultural activities, 66.6 percent. And yes, climate change could be an inconvenient truth, but the respondents will take sex anytime over the environment! Seriously, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR] should take this very seriously,” Virola said.

The NSCB secretary-general said that apart from this, the study gives the government a lot of insights such as giving priority to the formulation of programs and building of facilities that allow Filipinos to spend quality time with their families.

Virola said the Church will also continue to have a strong influence on how Filipinos live their lives.

The study ranked 15 aspects of Filipino life according to their importance and how much happiness is derived from these topics. There were a total of 167 respondents.

The topics are Family, Friends, Religion and/or spiritual work, Lovelife, Health, Education, Sex Life, Work, Leisure and Sports, Community and Volunteer Work, Technological Know-how, Income and Financial Stability, Cultural Activities, Environment, Economy, Government and Politics.

The top five important sources of Happiness for Filipinos are Family with 9.45 percent; Health with 8.95 percent; Religion and/or spiritual work with 8.59 percent; Friends with 8.57 percent; and Income and Financial Stability with 8.30 percent.

“Quite surprising is that sex is not an important source of happiness! In fact, it is among the five least important! Could it be that the respondents were just too shy to reveal their true feelings about sex? Or time to shift stories away from the birds and the bees?,” Virola said in his column.

“Politics is the least important, scoring only 5.84. I wonder if our congressmen and senators realize this,” he added.

Virola said that other unimportant sources of happiness are Cultural Activities, Community and Volunteer Work and Government.

“The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency and related agencies obviously need to do something if they want our countrymen to appreciate what they are supposed to promote,” Virola said.

Furthermore, Virola said Leisure and Sports is the sixth-least-important source of happiness. He said that though boxer Manny Pacquiao’s victories brought happiness for the country, his loss in the 2007 elections was probably more reflective of Pinoys view that Leisure and Sports are not important sources of happiness.

“Does this mean too that, in so far as elections are concerned, actors and sports heroes are passé, but priests are in?” Virola wondered aloud.

Meanwhile, the top five in the level of happiness for Filipinos are their Family with 88.46 percent; Friends with 83.57 percent; Religion and/or Spiritual Work with 79.81 percent; Love life with 79.37 percent; and Health with 78.02 percent.

Virola said that Health, which is supposed to be the second-most-important source of happiness, only got 78 percent. He said this means Filipinos are not getting any healthier or are not worrying too much about their health.

In addition, Virola said that the respondents derive very little happiness from Politics at 25.5 percent and Government at 35.5 percent.

“Makes one wonder, why do politicians seem to enjoy their position? Politicians may be amusing but they apparently do not make people happy. And if Politics contributes the least to gross national happiness, isn’t it time we abolished many elected positions in the government? Question is, how?” Virola stated.

Meanwhile, Virola said that asking one question on happiness produces an index 10-percent higher than when happiness is dissected into its various domains, and questions are asked for each topic.

Virola said that Filipinos are apparently happier with topics that are within their control, than those not within their control like politics.