Majority of Filipinos reject charter change, shift to federal government

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Majority of Filipinos reject charter change, shift to federal government
President Rodrigo Duterte receives the copy of the proposed Federal Constitution of the Philippines from former chief justice and consultative committee chairperson Reynato Puno during a handover ceremony at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace on July 9, 2018.
Presidential Photo / Toto Lozano

MANILA, Philippines — Majority of Filipinos expressed opposition to the moves to amend the 1987 Constitution and change the current system of government to a federal one, according to the latest survey released by Pulse Asia Monday.

The poll, conducted from June 15 to 21, showed that 67 percent of Filipinos are against charter change.

Opposition to amend the 1987 Constitution increased by 3 percentage points from 64 percent in March 2018.

Of this, 37 percent said they do not want to amend the charter now and in the future, while 30 percent expressed openness to altering the constitution sometime in the future but not now.

Pulse Asia noted that big pluralities in Metro Manila (40 percent), rest of Luzon (40 percent), Visayas (43 percent) and class D (38 percent) reject charter change now and in the future.

Public support for charter change also declined by 5 percentage points from 23 percent in March.

The pollster also found that about three quarters of Filipinos (74 percent) have "little/almost no/no knowledge at all" about the current constitution.

The number of Filipinos aware of proposals to change the charter, moreover, rose to 55 percent from 49 percent last March.

The survey was conducted by interviewing 1,800 representative registered voters 18 years old and above. It has a ± 2 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week received the copy of the proposed federal government constitution crafter by the 22-member consultative committee.

READDuterte receives copy of charter banning political dynasties, monopolies

6 of 10 Filipinos oppose shift to federalism

The same survey also found 62 percent of Filipinos are not in favor of replacing the present unitary system of government with a federal one, which Duterte had promised to establish.

This is down by 4 percentage points from 66 percent in March.

Twenty-eight percent expressed opposition on the altering of the system regardless of the timing of such change, while 34 percent are opposed to it now but may be supportive of changing to a federal government in the future.

“At the national level, public opinion on the matter of shifting to a federal government is practically unchanged between March and June 2018,” the polling firm noted.

It also showed that almost seven of 10 Filipinos (69 percent) know little or have no knowledge about the proposed federal system of government.

Of this figure, 43 percent have little knowledge while 27 percent have almost none or no knowledge at all.

Only 31 percent said they have sufficient to great deal of knowledge about it.

“From March to June 2018, the only significant change is the increase in the percentage of Metro Manilans with little/almost no/no knowledge at all about the proposed federal system (+15 percentage points) and the consequent decline in the percentage of Metro Manilans with at least enough knowledge about it (-15 percentage points),” Pulse Asia said.

A separate Social Weather Stations’ poll, however, showed that 34 percent favored the federal system of government while 29 percent expressed opposition to it. Thirty-four percent were undecided about the matter.

The survey, fielded from March 23 to 27, also found out that 75 percents of the 1,200 respondents only learned about the federal system during the conduct of the poll.

READSWS: Only 1 in 4 Filipinos aware of federal government

The Palace has previously said in response to past surveys on charter change that the results show "there is still a lot of work to be done by the government in informing, educating and reaching out to our countrymen regarding constitutional reforms."

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