Poll: Many support charter change, but more say they don't know Constitution

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Poll: Many support charter change, but more say they don't know Constitution
Protesters outside Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City rail against fresh moves to amend the Constitution in the House of Representatives on January 26, 2020.
Released / Makabayan bloc

MANILA, Philippines — A survey released Tuesday by private pollster Pulse Asia suggested that while most adult Filipinos lack knowledge on the 1987 Constitution, more of them expressed support for Charter change even as they rejected key amendments being pushed by some lawmakers, including those that will affect economic and political provisions.

The poll conducted from March 15 to March 19 showed that 79% of Filipinos had little to no knowledge of the Constitution, with 44% saying they had "little knowledge" while 34% said they had "almost none or no knowledge at all."

More than half of Filipinos or 53% said they were only made aware of proposals to change the Constitution when they were surveyed, while only 47% said they were aware of these moves prior to being asked to participate in the poll.

Despite this apparent lack of knowledge and awareness, 41% of Filipinos said the Constitution should be amended now, representing a 10-point jump from the last survey in September 2022.

Many are opposed to liberalizing ownership of land, media

But public opinion is split on amending the Constitution, with Pulse Asia noting that "essentially the same percentages" of Filipinos either support or reject these proposals as 45% said the Charter should not be changed now.

Of those who said that the Constitution should not be amended now, 31% said it should not be amended not nor any other time, while 14% said they were open to it being amended sometime in the future, with 8% saying it should be done under the current administration and 6% saying it should happen under the next administration.

When it came to specific constitutional amendments or revisions, most Filipinos rejected the lifting of foreign ownership restrictions in communications (53%), utilities (55%), equity in mass media and advertising (57%), and residential and industrial lands (72%).

Removing limits on shares of stocks in Philippine corporations that may be owned by foreign individuals and companies and allowing foreign individuals and companies to exploit natural resources were also frowned upon, with 67% and 72% of Filipinos rejecting these proposed amendments, respectively.

Filipinos were split (40% in favor-45% not in favor), however, when it came to allowing foreign individuals and companies to practice their profession in the country.

On political provisions, 56% of Filipinos said they are not in favor of term extensions for national and local elective officials, while they were split (38% in favor-42% not in favor) on shifting to federalism.

Filipinos are also split on whether a constitutional convention as proposed by the House of Representatives is the way to propose amendments or revisions to the Charter, with 34% of them agreeing, 30% disagreeing and 28% saying they are unsure.

Proposals for Cha-cha have hurdled the House at lightning speed but charter change has stalled in the Senate, where its leadership and majority of its members are cool to the proposal.

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