Bayan News

June 2018 Nationwide Survey on Charter Change

Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on Charter Change from the June 2018 Ulat ng Bayan national survey. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from June 15 – 21, 2018 using face-to-face interviews. In the weeks leading up to the fieldwork for this survey and during the actual conduct of the interviews, the following local and international developments dominated the headlines:

The following are several of the key developments which dominated the headlines in the weeks prior to and during the conduct of the interviews for this survey:

1. The 19 June 2018 decision of the Supreme Court, via an 8-6 vote, affirming its earlier ruling that led to the ouster of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno on the basis of a quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG);

2. The reversal by Ombudsman Cochita Carpio-Morales of her 03 March 2017 decision clearing former President Benigno S. Aquino III of criminal liability arising from his usurpation of the budgetary powers of Congress in connection with his approval of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP);

3. The start of the regional consultations on the draft federal constitution on 17 June 2018;

4. The conflicting statements of President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) situation, with the President reiterating his no-to-war stance toward China and the DFA Secretary claiming that the former is ready to declare war on China or any other country that attempts to exploit natural resources in the WPS;

5. The approval on third and final reading by the House of Representatives of a bill seeking to strengthen the powers of the OSG;

6. Calls for a wage increase from labor groups and other sectors in the face of the continuing increase in oil prices and the depreciation of the local currency vis-à-vis the American dollar;

7. The remarks made by President Duterte and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno that suspending the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law will undermine the delivery of basic services and will only do more harm than good to that national economy;

8. President Duterte’s official visit to South Korea from 03 to 05 June 2018 during which he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in affirmed the “special friendship” between their countries;

9. The suspension for three (3) months of the peace negotiations between the Philippines and the National Democratic Front (NDF);

10. The signing into law by President Duterte of the Mental Health Act on 20 June 2018 which seeks to provide state-funded mental health care at the grassroots level and to promote mental health education in schools and workplaces;

11. The killing of Fr. Richmond Nilo in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija on 10 June 2018 and that of Mayor Ronald Tirol of Buenavista, Bohol on 27 May 2018;

12. The arrest of more than 7,000 loiterers or “tambays” in Metro Manila alone since President Duterte’s 13 June 2018 order for the police to be stricter against loiterers;

13. The statement made by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra clearing Solicitor General Jose Calida of any wrongdoing in connection with various contracts entered into by a security firm owned by his family with the DOJ;

14. The confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat as the new Department of Tourism (DOT) lead official;

15. The passage on third and final reading of their respective versions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the House of Representatives on 30 May 2018 by a vote of 227 to 11 and by the Senate a day after via a 21-0 vote;

16. The 12 June 2018 peace agreement signed by United States (US) President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; the transfer of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; and the withdrawal of the US from the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council;

17. In economic and financial developments, the decline in the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) which plunged to 7,098.15 points on 21 June 2018, the lowest closing level since 04 January 2017, due in part to market uncertainties; the continued weakening of the Philippine peso against the American dollar which makes the local currency one of the worst performing currencies among so-called emerging economies in the first half of 2018; the statement of a National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) official that a Filipino family of five (5) would be able to survive on P 10,000 per month which led various labor groups and individuals to challenge the country’s economic managers to live on P 10,000 monthly; a clarification was issued by NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia to the effect that a typical Filipino family would need P 42,000 monthly to be able to live decently.

Based on a multistage probability sample of 1,800 registered voters 18 years old and above, Pulse Asia’s nationwide survey has a + 2% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95% confidence level: + 6% for Metro Manila, + 3% for the rest of Luzon and + 5% for each of Visayas and Mindanao. Those interested in further technical details may refer to our website (www.pulseasia.ph)

Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes. Pulse Asia Research undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.

For any clarification or questions, kindly contact Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, Research Director of Pulse Asia Research at 09189436816 or Ronald D. Holmes, Pulse Asia Research President at 09189335497 (via mobile, Viber, or Telegram) or at ronald.holmes@gmail.com (via email.).

Most Filipinos know about recent charter change proposals (55%) and admit having little/almost no/no knowledge at all about the 1987 Philippine Constitution (74%); while several changes in awareness figures occur between March and June 2018, levels of knowledge remain constant during this period

A small majority of Filipinos (55%) report awareness of proposals to change the country’s charter. This overall level of awareness is higher than the March 2018 figure (49%). Majority awareness figures are recorded in all geographic areas (53% to 59%) and practically every socio-economic class (58% to 78%), with Class E being the only exception (38%). Awareness of charter change proposals becomes more pronounced between March and June 2018 not only at the national level (+6 percentage points) but also in the Visayas (+25 percentage points), Class ABC (+18 percentage points), and Class D (+7 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 1.)

About three-quarters of Filipinos (74%) have little/almost no/no knowledge at all about the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The same is admitted by majorities across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (68% to 83% and 54% to 83%, respectively). Of the total figure (74%), 43% have little knowledge while 31% know practically/completely nothing about the charter. In contrast, among those with at least enough knowledge (26%), 5% know a great deal while 21% have a sufficient amount of knowledge. Between March and June 2018, knowledge levels are essentially unchanged in the Philippines as a whole and in the various geographic areas and socio-economic classes. (Please refer to Tables 2 to 3.)

The prevailing sentiment among Filipinos is one of opposition to charter change now (67%); between March and June 2018, public support for changing the 1987 Philippine Constitution eases (-5 percentage points) while opposition to charter change now and in the future becomes more pronounced (+5 percentage points)

Around two (2) in three (3) Filipinos (67%) are against changing the country’s charter now. Among them, 37% oppose changing the 1987 Philippine Constitution now and in the future while 30% are against it at present but may be open to it sometime in the future. The rest of Filipinos either support charter change now (18%) or express indecision on the matter (14%). Public opinion on this issue is virtually the same in March and June 2018. During the period March to June 2018, the overall level of support for charter change now declines (-5 percentage points) while public opposition against it now and in the future becomes more notable (+5 percentage points). (Please refer to Tables 4 to 5.)

In the different areas and socio-economic groupings, majorities are against charter change now (60% to 74% and 62% to 68%, respectively). In particular, big pluralities in Metro Manila (40%), the rest of Luzon (40%), the Visayas (43%), and Class D (38%) are against charter change now and in the future. About the same percentages of those in Class E either reject it now and in the future (32%) or oppose it now but may be supportive of its in the future (30%). In Mindanao and Class ABC, nearly the same percentages oppose charter change now but may be open to it in the future (34% and 30%, respectively), support it now (28% and 25%, respectively), or reject it now and in the future (26% and 38%, respectively). (Please refer to Table 4.)

From March to June 2018, support for change change now declines among Metro Manilans (-17 percentage points) while opposition becomes more pronounced in the Visayas (+15 percentage points) and Class E (+12 percentage points). More specifically, opposition to changing the country’s charter now and in the future becomes more manifest among Visayans (+15 percentage points). Additionally, ambivalence on the matter becomes more notable in Metro Manila (+14 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 5.)

Little awareness of the proposed federal system of government is admitted by most Filipinos (69%); awareness figures are virtually unchanged between March and June 2018

Almost seven (7) out of 10 Filipinos (69%) have at best a low level of knowledge about the federal system of government that is being proposed by charter change advocates. Majorities across geographic areas and socio-economic classes know little/almost nothing/nothing at all about the alternative system of government that is being proposed to replace the current unitary system (60% to 77% and 54% to 79%, respectively). Of the total figure (69%), 43% know little about the proposed federal system while 27% know almost nothing/nothing at all about it. In contrast, 31% of Filipinos know at least enough about the latter, with 8% having much knowledge about it and 22% knowing enough. From March to June 2018, the only significant change is the increase in the percentage of Metro Manilans with little/almost no/no knowledge at all about the proposed federal system (+15 percentage points) and the consequent decline in the percentage of Metro Manilans with at least enough knowledge about it (-15 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 6.)

A shift to a federal system of government is rejected by most Filipinos (62%); public opinion on this matter remains constant over the past quarter

The majority of Filipinos (62%) are not in favor of changing the system of government in the country to a federal one, with 34% opposing it now and in the future and 28% being against it now but may be open to it in the future. With the exception of Mindanao (45%), majority levels of opposition to federalism now are recorded across geographic areas and socio-economic classes (56% to 72% and 54% to 68%, respectively). Meanwhile, 28% of Filipinos are supportive of a shift to a federal form of government now and ambivalence on the matter is expressed by 10% of Filipinos. (Please refer to Table 7.)

While a bare majority of Mindanawons (51%) back moves to shift to a federal government now, a big plurality of those in the rest of Luzon (41%) are against such a change now and in the future. About the same percentages in Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Class ABC are in favor of federalism now (23% to 34%), oppose it now but may be open to it in the future (24% to 43%), or reject it now and in the future (25% to 34%). In Class D, basically the same percentages either reject federalism now and in the future (35%) or oppose it now but may be open to it in the future (28%). And in Class E, nearly the same percentages either support a shift to a federal government now (36%) or oppose such a move now and in the future (33%).

At the national level, public opinion on the matter of shifting to a federal government is practically unchanged between March and June 2018. However, a few changes may be noted in Metro Manila and Mindanao. Support for shifting from a unitary system to a federal one eases in Metro Manila (-19 percentage points) while it becomes more pronounced in Mindanao (+18 percentage points). Also in Mindanao, the level of opposition to such a shift taking place now goes down (-20 percentage points). More specifically, opposition to changing the system of government to a federal one now and in the future becomes less manifest (-19 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 8.)