Penitent Ruben Enaje portrays Jesus Christ as he joins actors in a senakulo or passion play in San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga early yesterday. Enaje, a carpenter, has been crucified every year since 1985 on Good Friday. Michael Varcas

75% of Filipinos consider religion very important
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Three out of four Filipinos consider their religion to be “very important,” according to the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations Inc. (SWS).

To the survey question, “How important would you say religion is in your life?” 75 percent answered very important, nine percent said somewhat important, three percent answered not very important and 13 percent not at all important.

The nationwide poll was taken from Dec. 8 to 16, 2017, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults, 18 years old and above.

The latest figure of 75 percent in December, however, was seven points below the 82 percent registered in December 2016.

Those who say religion is very important was highest among Muslims at 94 percent, followed by Catholics (75 percent), “other Christians” (70 percent) and members of Iglesia ni Cristo (70 percent).

SWS defines other Christians as Christians other than Catholics and Iglesia ni Cristo.

The proportion of those who say religion is not very important was five percent among other Christians and three percent among Catholics. No such cases were observed among Muslims and Iglesia ni Cristo.

In contrast, the proportion of those who say religion is not at all important was highest among members of Iglesia ni Cristo at 21 percent, followed by other Christians at 19 percent, Catholics (12 percent) and Muslims (six percent).

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that attendance at weekly religious service was lowest among Filipino Catholics.

The SWS December 2017 poll found almost half or 46 percent of adult Filipinos attend religious services weekly, 34 percent monthly and 19 percent occasionally.

The remaining 0.4 percent said they never attend religious services.

The proportion of those who attend religious services weekly was highest among Muslims at 98 percent, followed by other Christians at 67 percent, members of Iglesia ni Cristo at 58 percent and Catholics at 41 percent.

The proportion of those who attend religious services monthly was highest among Catholics at 38 percent followed by Iglesia ni Cristo (28 percent), other Christians (18 percent) and Muslims (two percent).

“In the 72 SWS surveys on church attendance from 1991 to 2017, weekly attendance at religious services has always been lower among Catholics, compared to adult Filipinos in general,” the SWS said.

The highest recorded annual average weekly church attendance among adult Filipinos was two-thirds or 66 percent in 1991, it said.

Among Catholics, weekly church attendance fell to 57 percent in 1994 and mostly remained at about half up to 1999.

“For 18 years in a row from 2000, only minorities of Catholics go to church weekly. The latest 40 percent average weekly church attendance of Catholics in 2017 was just a point above their record-low 39 percent average weekly church attendance in 2014 and 2015.

“The 24-point decline in Catholics’ weekly church attendance from 1991 to 2017 is highly significant, statistically speaking,” SWS said.

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