Majority of the residents of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have expressed satisfaction with the performance of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration, based on the survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The SWS survey, fielded on Sept. 27 to 30, found that 94 percent of respondents from BARMM were satisfied with Duterte’s work performance, 3 percent were not satisfied, and the remaining 3 percent were ambivalent on the matter.
This yielded a net satisfaction of “excellent” +90 in BARMM, higher than the “very good” +65 recorded in the entire country and the “excellent” +74 in Mindanao areas that are not part of the autonomous region.
“This greater satisfaction is even more evident when it comes to the performance rating President Duterte himself – for the Philippines it is a ‘very good’ net +65, higher for non-BARMM areas of Mindanao at ‘excellent’ +74, and for BARMM areas it is a stratospheric ‘excellent’ +90,” SWS noted.
“It may well be that the long-awaited Bangsamoro Organic Law providing for enhanced autonomy for the region, a key campaign promise of President Duterte and which he has shepherded through Congress and a plebiscite ratification, is what drives the ‘excellent’ performance rating that the BARMM respondents give him,” it added.
SWS also said 84 percent of BARMM respondents are satisfied with the performance of the Duterte government, while only 3 percent are dissatisfied and the remaining 10 percent are undecided.
The poll results posted a net satisfaction of “excellent” +81 with the current administration, higher than the “very good” +67 in the entire country and “very good” +68 in non-BARMM areas.
“BARMM respondents are more satisfied with the performance of the national administration at an ‘excellent’ +81 net satisfaction… than even the ‘very good’ overall Philippine net satisfaction of +67,” the pollster said.
SWS raised the normal sample of 300 adult respondents in Mindanao to 600 in its poll for the third quarter of 2018, as an experiment in separate representation for BARMM.
It noted that 83 percent of BARMM respondents lived in rural areas, higher compared to 63 percent of the total respondents nationwide who were in rural areas, including 67 percent of those in non-BARMM areas of Mindanao.
The increase in number of respondents allowed statistical analysis of the opinions of residents in BARMM, which gained enhanced autonomy this year.
“This survey experiment is due to the special status of this region since it has its own elected regional government in recognition of the “common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures” as is stated in the 1987 Constitution (Article 10, Section 17),” SWS said.
“A separate sample can make this distinctiveness statistically visible. Thus, this special round SWS is able to make a comparison between the BARMM and the rest of Mindanao, and with the Philippines as a whole,” it added.
BARMM replaces the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) following the ratification of the landmark Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that is anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro Government inked between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.
Under the BOL, BARMM enjoys expanded land and water jurisdiction, greater fiscal autonomy, and increased share in national government resources, among others.
BARMM is a relatively young population, with only 34 percent above the age of 45 compared to 47 percent of respondents throughout the Philippines, SWS said.
“This is a reflection of rapid population growth rate – the 2015 census found that the then-ARMM had a growth rate of 2.89 percent per year as compared to the country as a whole at 1.72 percent per year,” it noted.
49% BARMM residents expect better life in the next 12 months
The survey also revealed that 49 percent of respondents from BARMM are optimistic that their life will “improve” in the next 12 months, 2 percent believed their life will be “worse,” 30 percent said it will be “same as before,” and the remaining 19 percent had no answer, registering a net optimism of “good” +46.
“One difference, in the BARMM areas, is a higher proportion who say they ‘don’t know’ – perhaps this uncertainty is due to the recent inauguration of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to run the BARMM until the 2022 elections,” SWS said.
“This new governance structure is just getting instituted, and the innovation might be making respondents less sure of their future prospects,” it added.
High optimism was recorded even though 59 percent of respondents from BARMM rated themselves as “poor,” SWS said.
Only 6 percent were convinced that they are “not poor,” while 36 percent said they were “on the line.”
SWS said BARMM respondents were much more likely to be in informal employment, noting that 62 percent of respondents were “self-employed but not in a formally registered job” compared to 34 percent of respondents throughout the Philippines and a similar 36 percent in non-BARMM areas of Mindanao.
“Decades of unrest have taken their toll on the area, which is comprised of five provinces (Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan), two cities (Marawi and Cotabato) and 63 barangays (villages) in North Cotabato Province,” SWS said.
“The five provinces are all found in the bottom ten provinces of the country in terms of the Human Development Index,” it added.
Marawi rehab among ‘pressing’ issues faced by BARMM
The same survey also found that one of the pressing issues BARMM residents are facing is the ongoing rehabilitation of Marawi City.
The government’s rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City continues, to restore normalcy in the war-torn area following the siege laid by Maute extremist group on May 23, 2017 which prompted Duterte to implement martial rule in the entire Mindanao.
The government was able to liberate Marawi City in October 2017, but martial law in Mindanao will expire on December 31 this year.
SWS said 83 percent of BARMM respondents are either “very hopeful or somewhat hopeful,” while only 18 percent are “somewhat not hopeful or not hopeful at all.”
“Those respondents most affected by the siege of Marawi, Maranaos (the ethnic group from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City) are very much less hopeful, with only a net +27 (64 percent very hopeful/somewhat hopeful, 36 percent somewhat not hopeful/not hopeful at all, correctly rounded),” SWS said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)