Four out of 10 residents in the National Capital Region (NCR) have little confidence that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will bring peace to Mindanao, a recent survey revealed. Only two out of 10 residents of Metro Manila are very confident about the proposed law’s impact.
The survey, conducted by Laylo Research Strategies (LRS) exclusively for The Manila Times, was undertaken from February 6 to 9, 2015, two weeks after the massacre of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and around the time President Benigno Aquino 3rd accepted the resignation of Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima.
When asked about their level of confidence that the passage of the BBL would bring peace to Mindanao, 38 percent of the respondents said they had little confidence, while 22 percent expressed much confidence in the BBL. About 40 percent, though, were undecided on their assessments.
The upper and middle classes (ABC) registered the lowest level of confidence, with 61 percent of them not believing the proposed law would result in peace in Mindanao, in contrast to only 6 percent who said they had confidence in the proposed law.
A significant majority or 64 percent of the respondents said conditions must be set before congressional hearings on the BBL are resumed. (see Table B). The survey, however, did not include in its questionnaire the BBL conditions that respondents preferred. Some 36 percent said hearings should be resumed immediately so that the BBL measure would be passed as soon as possible.
The strong negative public reaction to the immediate passage of the draft law was reflected in the separate yet almost simultaneous decisions of the Senate and the House of Representatives to suspend BBL hearings. Even Senate President Franklin Drilon had admitted that the Senate would have a hard time passing the proposed law. Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, announced a few days after the Mamasapano masssacre that he was suspending the BBL hearings until the Moro Islamic Liberation Front demonstrates its sincerity in wanting peace in Mindanao.
Representative Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the special committee in charge of drafting the House version of the BBL, also suspended “indefinitely” its hearings on the bill. Rodriguez said his committee would have to wait for the findings “of the two investigations” — which meant the probes of the Mamasapano massacre by the House committees on public order, peace and reconciliation, and on national defense on one end, and the investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In the same survey, the respondents registered a high 62 percent awareness of the peace agreement between the government and the MILF, and a 59 percent awareness of the BBL. Of those who were aware of the draft Bangsamoro bill, 49 percent said their knowledge of the draft law ranged from “somewhat extensive knowledge” to “moderate knowledge” while on the extremes, 5 percent indicated “very extensive” awareness of the proposed law and 20 percent admitted only “very limited” awareness of the bill.
In the same survey, the respondents were asked to indicate their level of trust in five agencies and groups involved in the Mamasapano incident. Of the five, the Philippine Army received an overwhelming trust rating of 61 percent trust versus 15 percent distrust or a net trust rating of +45, followed by the PNP-Special Action Force, which received an overall net trust rating of +32. The other three agencies received negative net ratings – the Government of the Philippines-MILF Ceasefire Committee, -13; Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter, -67, and MILF, -67.
The Manila Times-LRS survey covered the 15 cities and two towns in Metro Manila and involved 300 adults randomly chosen in households in the National Capital Region. Samples were distributed proportionally according to the adult population size of the cities and municipalities in NCR. It held a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percent.
Set up in 2010, Laylo Research Strategies (LRS) is a respected polling and strategic research firm with its principal pollster Pedro Laylo Jr. having been a polling and public opinion expert since the 1990s.