MAJORITY OR 64% of Filipinos are not in favor of charter change, a poll released Wednesday by Pulse Asia showed.
The March 2018 Pulse Asia nationwide survey found that only 23% favored that move, a key initiative in President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s program of government, while 13% were found ambivalent on the matter.
In comparison with a 2016 survey also by Pulse Asia, overall public support for constitutional amendments declined by 14 points to 23% in March 2018. Those against constituted 64%, a 20-point rise from 2016’s 44%.
In Mindanao, Mr. Duterte’s home region, 58% of respondents were against constitutional amendments whereas 24% supported it. The 58% against compares with 2016’s 36%.
Polled as well about their knowledge of the 1987 Constitution, 25% of respondents indicated 25% of respondents nationwide indicated a sufficient to a great deal of knowledge, as opposed to 75% who had little to no knowledge of the country’s basic law.
Twenty-nine percent (29%) said they had a sufficient to a great deal of knowledge on the proposed federal system of government, while 71% said they had little to no knowledge of that system as being pushed by the Duterte administration.
On the other hand, 66% of Filipinos opposed the proposal to adopt a federal government; while 27% of the population supported it. The survey noted 36% of respondents who opposed the move maintained they are not in favor of the shift regardless of the timing of such change, while 30% said they are not in favor of changing it now, but may be open to it in the future.
The survey also showed only 49% of Filipinos are aware of proposals to change the Constitution.
The noncommissioned survey was conducted from March 23 to 28, using face-to-face interviews.
The Consultative Committee on Charter Change welcomed the survey results. “The survey was taken at a time when the Consultative Committee is still formulating the proposed revisions. Once we are done and the proposed revisions are presented to the public, we are confident that the public perception will change,” the body said in a statement.
For his part, Presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque, Jr. said: “The Duterte administration is thus working tirelessly in promoting to the public the workings of a federal set-up, a campaign promise of the President to bring government closer to the people.”
Sought for comment, Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III said in part, “I acknowledge that people still need to know more about federalism as the word has remained a new and still unfamiliar concept to them.”
House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez in a statement said: “The survey finding that 3 out of every 4 Filipinos, or 75 percent, have little/almost none/no knowledge at all about the 1987 Philippine Constitution tells us very clearly that we must come together and intensify the information, education and communication campaigns throughout the country to tell our people that we must revise the three-decade-old Constitution to make it responsive to changing times.”
And opposition senator Francis N. Pangilinan, who heads the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, said in a statement: “This lack of support for Cha-cha and federalism even in Mindanao, which is supposed to benefit from this push and is reflected in the survey results, simply means that rushing Charter change and forcing it upon the citizens is not the way to go.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan and Camille A. Aguinaldo