The BOL seeks to create an autonomous Bangsamoro region that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Boy Santos
SWS: 79% of Muslims favor Bangsamoro Organic Law approval
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly eight in 10 Muslims in the country are in favor of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), according to a survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The BOL seeks to create an autonomous Bangsamoro region that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The SWS asked the respondents: “Do you want or not want voters who will vote in the January 2019 plebiscite to approve the BOL?”

The survey found 67 percent of Muslims nationwide who “definitely want it,” 12 percent “somewhat want it,” four percent “somewhat don’t want it” and three percent “definitely don’t want it” for a net approval score of +72.

Fourteen percent were undecided “if they want it or not.”

The poll was conducted from Dec. 16 to 19 last year, using face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults, 18 years old and above.

The survey was released late Monday, the day voters in the ARMM and some Muslim-dominated areas voted in a plebiscite to determine the fate of the BOL.

The poll used separate samples in four areas of Metro Manila, balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao about the BOL plebiscite, the SWS explained.

Compared to other religions, net approval of the BOL was +15 (26 percent definitely/somewhat want it, 12 percent somewhat/definitely don’t want it) among Iglesia ni Cristo, +10 (33 percent definitely/somewhat want it, 23 percent somewhat/definitely don’t want it) among Catholics and +9 (37 percent definitely/somewhat want it, 28 percent somewhat/definitely don’t want it) among “other Christians.”

President Duterte signed in July last year Republic Act 11054 or the BOL, which will create the expanded area of autonomy that will be called Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM.

The December 2018 survey also found 78 percent of Muslims who said they know about the BOL, of whom 10 percent claimed to have “extensive” knowledge, 35 percent have “partial but sufficient” knowledge and 33 percent have “only a little” knowledge about it.

Twenty-two percent said they have “almost none or no knowledge” about the BOL.

Compared to other religions, those with at least “a little” knowledge about the BOL was 65 percent among Catholics, 61 percent among Iglesia ni Cristo and 61 percent among other Christians.

Those with at least “partial but sufficient” knowledge about the BOL were highest among Muslims at 45 percent, followed by Catholics at 22 percent, other Christians at 22 percent and Iglesia ni Cristo at 17 percent.

Seventy-six percent of Muslims believe the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is capable of governing the BARMM, consisting of 56 percent saying “definitely capable” and 21 percent “somewhat capable.”

Eight percent said the MILF is not capable, consisting of one percent “somewhat not capable” and seven percent “definitely not capable” for a net capability score of +68.

The remaining 16 percent were undecided about the matter.

In Mindanao as a whole, including non-plebiscite areas, 41 percent favor the BOL while 31 percent oppose it.

The survey found 27 percent in Mindanao saying they “definitely want” the BOL, 14 percent “somewhat want it,” nine percent “somewhat don’t want it” and 22 percent “definitely don’t want it.”

Compared to other areas, net approval of the BOL was +17 (38 percent “definitely/somewhat want it”, 21 percent “somewhat/definitely don’t want it”) in the Visayas, +16 (33 percent definitely/somewhat want it, 17 percent somewhat/definitely don’t want it) in balance Luzon, +13 (37 percent definitely/somewhat want it and 24 percent somewhat/definitely don’t want it) in Metro Manila.

About three out of five or 63 percent of adults in Mindanao also know about the BOL, the SWS said.

This is composed of five percent with extensive knowledge, 16 percent partial but sufficient knowledge and 41 percent only a little knowledge. The remaining 22 percent said they have almost none or no knowledge about the BOL.

It found 30 percent of adults in Mindanao saying the MILF is capable of governing the BARMM (consisting of 19 percent saying definitely capable and 10 percent somewhat capable) and 38 percent saying they are not capable (consisting of 11 percent somewhat not capable and 28 percent definitely not capable), for a net capability score of -9.

Nationwide, net approval of the BOL was higher among those with extensive knowledge about it, at +43 and among those who say the MILF is definitely capable of governing the BARMM, at +60, the SWS said. 

Palace defends survey results   

Malacañang said the survey results reflected Muslims’ desire to end terrorism and achieve peace in Mindanao. 

“The Bangsamoro people have enough of war, terrorism and poverty. They hunger for peace and thirst for development in Mindanao,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

“We hope that the aspiration of our Muslim brothers and sisters for a peaceful and progressive Bangsamoro region will commence its realization following the ratification of the BOL,” he added.

Panelo chided Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison, who had claimed that the “yes” vote would win because of vote-buying. 

“He is once again talking nonsense by engaging in a delusional analysis on a political event that further exposes his ignorance,” Panelo said. 

He said voters would ratify the BOL not because of vote-buying and presidential influence but because of Muslims’ belief that it would yield development in Mindanao. – With Alexis Romero 

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