DAVAO CITY (MindNews / 23 December) — Seventy one per cent of the Filipinos are still satisfied with President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership but 62% oppose martial law extension, a move Duterte requested should be until December 31, 2018. His request was approved by Congress on December 13.
The Fourth Quarter 2017 Social Weather Stations (SWS) nationwide survey on December 8-16, 2017 found 71% of adult Filipinos satisfied, 15% undecided, and 13% dissatisfied with Duterte’s performance — or a net satisfaction rating of +58 (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied), classified by SWS as “very good.”
In the September survey, Duterte’s net satisfaction rating was + 48 (67% satisfied, 19% dissatisfied), and classified under “good.”
The same survey, however, showed 62% oppose martial law extension in Mindanao 66% believe the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can suppress the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf even without Martial Law.
Midway through the survey schedule — on December 13 — the Joint Session of Congress, by a vote of 240 in favor and 27 against, granted Duterte’s request to extend martial law over Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus until yearend 2018.
Unli martial law
The extension until yearend 2018 brings to 19 months or 588 days the duration of martial law over Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities, from 60 days when Duterte declared martial law on May 23, Day 1 of the Marawi Crisis.
“What we are asking is not unlimited martial law. What we seek is unlimited peace,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said.
But those opposing the extension expressed fears what will happen is precisely an “unlimited” extension of martial law. Duterte declared martial law on May 23 for a period not exceeding 60 days but sought an extension which Congress granted, until December 31, 2017.
The second extension runs until December 31, 2018.
Buhay party list Rep. Lito Atienza noted that if extension of one year will be allowed, then it will be again extended to two years or more. The 1987 Constitution, he pointed out, did not contemplate an indefinite martial law.
“Never again should any President be allowed to utilize martial law indefinitely,” he said.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra argued that there is no provision in the Constitution that limits extension of martial law to 60 days.
President Duterte declared martial law on May 23 citing rebellion in Marawi.
The SWS asked: “Gaano po kayo sumasang-ayon o hindi sumasang-ayon sa pangungusap na ito: ‘Dahil tapos na ang giyera sa Marawi City, hindi na kailangan palawigin pa ang Martial Law nang lagpas ng takda nitong pagtatapos sa December 31, 2017” (How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: ‘Because the war in Marawi City is over, there is no need to extend Martial Law beyond its end date on December 31, 2017).
Sixty two per cent agreed, 12% were undecided, and 26% disagreed.
Opposition to the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao beyond December 31, 2017 was highest in Metro Manila at 67%, followed by Balance Luzon at 63%, Mindanao at 62%, and Visayas at 55%
Majorities across demographics (55% to 67%) oppose the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao beyond 2017.
Even without martial law
The SWS survey said 66% believe the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can suppress the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf even without Martial Law
The SWS asked: “Gaano po kayo sumasang-ayon o hindi sumasang-ayon sa pangungusap na ito: ‘Kayang sugpuin ng Armed Forces of the Philippines o AFP ang grupong Maute at Abu Sayyaf kahit walang Martial Law,’ (How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: ‘The Armed Forces of the Philippines or AFP can suppress the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf even without Martial Law).
Sixty six per cent agreed, 16% were undecided, and 18% disagreed
The December 2017 proportion of those who agree that the AFP can suppress the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf even without Martial Law is 12 points above 54% in September 2017. It was at 57% in June 2017, when SWS first asked the question.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City “liberated from the terrorist influence” on October 17 and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced on October 23 the termination of all combat operations in Marawi.
Compared to September 2017, or a month before the “liberation” of Marawi, the proportion of those who agree that the AFP can suppress the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf without Martial Law rose in all areas, the SWS said.
It rose by 16 points in Metro Manila (54% in September to 70% in December); by 15 points in Balance Luzon (52% to 67%); by 8 points in the Visayas (58% to 66%); and by 9 points in Mindanao from 52% to 61%.
Across demographics, majorities (ranging from 55% to 72%) believe that the AFP can suppress the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf even without Martial Law
In a statement reacting to the results of the SWS survey, Drieza Lininding, chair of the Marawi-based Moro Consensus Group thanked the “majority” of Filipinos “for sharing our position that there is no need to extend martial law to suppress threat from remnants of Maute-ISIS Gorup.”
“Special thanks to our fellow Mindanaoans who understand the sad plight of the Meranaw People Under Martial Law,” he said.
Addressing Meranaw leadres who supported martial law extension thinking that it is the popular sentiment, Linding wrote: “Woe to you! Hope you, our leaders, would understand the implications of your support to the thousands whose human rights is violated under martial law and to those whose house will be flattened without their consent.”
The SWS said the 10-point rise in the President’s net satisfaction rating nationwide was due to increases of 14 points in Balance Luzon, 11 points in Metro Manila, 10 points in the Visayas, and 3 points in Mindanao from September to December 2017.
Pres. Duterte’s net satisfaction rating stayed “excellent” in Mindanao, at +80 (84% satisfied, 5% dissatisfied) in December 2017, up by 4 points from +76 (82% satisfied, 6% dissatisfied) in September 2017. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)