SWS: 54% favor, 30% reject Mindanao martial law

THE promulgation of martial law in Mindanao until December 31 this year obtained a "moderately strong" net agreement score nationwide, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed in its latest survey.

The poll, conducted on September 23 to 27, found that 54 percent of adult Filipinos were in favor of martial law in besieged Mindanao, with 31 percent "strongly agreed" and 22 percent "somewhat agreed."

Only 30 percent (12 percent "somewhat disagreed," 18 percent "strongly disagreed") believed that there was no need to implement military rule in the war-torn region until end of 2017.

Sixteen percent were ambivalent on the matter.

The survey results yielded a net agreement rating of "moderately strong" +24.

The SWS noted that the net agreement with Duterte's decision to extend martial law was highest in his bailiwick in Mindanao, registering "very strong" +41 (64 percent agreed, 23 percent disagreed).

This was followed by the Visayas at "moderately strong" +22 (54 percent agreed, 32 percent disagreed); Balance Luzon at "moderately strong" +18 (49 percent agreed, 31 percent disagreed); and Metro Manila at "moderately strong" 16 (52 percent agreed, 36 percent disagreed).

Duterte also received strong support from Classes ABC ("extremely strong" +51) and D ("moderately strong" +26) while he only posted a net agreement score of "neutral" +4 in Class E.

On May 23, Duterte placed Mindanao under one-man rule after Islamic State-linked Maute extremists laid siege to Marawi City in an attempt to establish caliphate for Southeast Asia terrorists.

The 60-day martial law lapsed on July 22 but was extended by Congress until end of December 2017 upon Duterte's recommendation to give state forces more time to complete quell insurgency in Marawi City.

The Islamist fighters' plan to create an enclave in the southern Philippines was squashed after the government troops killed terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, who led the Marawi siege, on October 16.

Duterte then declared on October 17 the liberation of Marawi while Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced on October 23 that the war in the strife-torn city was over.

Despite the development, Duterte is yet to lift the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The SWS found that 54 percent agreed (30 percent "strongly agreed," 23 percent disagreed") with Congress' decision to approve Duterte's proposal to extend martial rule in Mindanao.

About 28 percent disagreed (12 percent "somewhat disagreed," 17 percent "strongly disagreed) while 18 percent were undecided.

The poll results yielded a "moderately strong" +25 net agreement score, when it comes to Congress' extension of martial law in the south.

In a press conference held Saturday in Vietnam, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the martial law declaration in Mindanao was "justified" to suppress extremism in the southern part of the country.

Roque said Palace was also elated by the majority's support to the government as it continues its efforts to foil terror activities that pose threats to the country.

"Well, we are certainly thankful that the majority of Filipino people have shown support for the declaration of martial law. Note that although only 50 plus respondents support the declaration of martial, the undecided is still in two figures. So it could be that the number of individuals supporting could still increase," Roque said.

"But we stress that the declaration of martial law was necessary to deal with actual terrorism in Marawi. It was not just a threat. It resulted in actual fighting and it lasted more than 50 days so we feel that the declaration was very much justified and we appreciate the support of the people for such declaration," he added.

The SWS interviewed 1,500 adult respondents using sampling error margins of ±3 percentage points for national percentages, ±4 percentage points for Balance Luzon, and ±6 percentage points each for Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. (SunStar Philippines)

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