More than half of Filipinos support the extension of martial law in Mindanao, according to the latest the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The poll, conducted from September 23 to 27, found that 54 percent of Filipino adults, who were aware of the imposition of martial rule in Mindanao, agreed with Duterte’s proposal to Congress to extend martial law until December 31 this year.
This gave a net agreement score (percent agree minus percent disagree) of +24, classified by SWS as moderately strong.
On the other hand, 30 percent of those surveyed disagreed with the move to extend martial law in Mindanao.
The survey showed that net agreement with Duterte’s decision to extend martial law was highest in Mindanao at a very strong +41 (64 percent agree, 23 percent disagree), followed by the Visayas at a moderately strong +22 (54 percent agree, 32 percent disagree), Balance Luzon at a moderately strong +18 (49 percent agree, 31 percent disagree), and Metro Manila at a moderately strong +16 (52 percent agree, 36 percent disagree).
Support for martial law extension in Mindanao was stronger among class ABC (extremely strong +51), compared to class D (moderately strong +26), and class E (neutral +4).
It was stronger among men (very strong +34) compared to women (moderately strong +13), and this support hardly varied across age groups.
On May 23, Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after Islamic State-inspired terrorists stormed into Marawi City to establish a caliphate for Southeast Asian terrorists.
The Chief Executive ordered security forces to intensify offensives to wipe out the Islamist fighters and avert the possible spread of hostile acts to other areas of the country.
Martial law in Mindanao may not be lifted immediately even after Duterte himself declared on October 17 the liberation of Marawi City following the death of terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
The same survey also found that 54 percent agreed while 28 percent disagreed with the Congress vote on July 22 to approve the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of this year. This gives a net agreement score of moderately strong +25.
The poll, posted on the SWS website on Friday, November 10, was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adults nationwide, 600 in Balance Luzon and 300 each in Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.
It has sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, ±4 percent for Balance Luzon, and ±6 percent each for the other areas.
In a press conference in Vietnam on Saturday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque welcomed the public’s affirmative response to the President’s decision to extend the declaration martial law in Mindanao.
“Well we’re certainly thankful that the majority of the Filipino people have shown support for the declaration of martial law. Note that although only 50 plus (percent) responded that they supported the declaration of martial law, the undecided is still in two figures. So it could be that the number of individuals supporting could still increase,” Roque told reporters.
“But we stressed that the declaration of martial was necessary to deal with the 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 just justified and we appreciate the support of the people for such declaration,” he added.