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The Marawi factor

Social Weather Stations has begun to release findings from its Sept. 23-27 survey related to the conflict in Marawi. For example, there was 54 percent agreement with the President’s proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2017.

Among the 54 percent that agreed with the martial law extension, Mr. Duterte’s satisfaction rating was a Very Good net +68. Whereas among the 30 percent that disagreed with it, his rating was only a Moderate +12.

Thus the popularity of the President is variable, not fixed. It depends on what he says and/or does along many matters, not limited to those pertaining to his war on illegal drugs.

The Marawi conflict has been very salient to public opinion. Let us recall that martial law in Mindanao had been in force since May 23, four months before the fielding of the survey, when the end of the conflict was not yet in sight. It was on Oct. 17, or 20 days after the survey, that Marawi was declared liberated.

In the SWS September 2017 survey, 69 percent said that they had been closely following the news about “the continued fighting between the Maute group and the joint military and police forces in Marawi City.” Twenty-nine percent had been following it a little or not at all; only 2 percent were unaware of it.

The Marawi conflict was the most closely followed of 10 topics presented, in random order, by the survey interviewer. Of its 69 follower-points, 37 were following very closely (sinundan nang mabuti), and 32 were following somewhat closely (medyo sinundan).

Next in public attention came:

(2) “The killing of Kian Loyd Delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz by Kalookan policemen,” 63 percent;

(3) “The extension of martial law in the whole of Mindanao until December 31, 2017,” 59 percent;

(4) “The enactment of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act that will give free tuition … to students of State Universities and Colleges,” 52 percent;

(5-7) “The accusations that the son and son-in-law of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Paolo Duterte and Atty. Mans Carpio, are involved in corruption in the Bureau of Customs,” “The Senate investigation regarding 6 Billion Pesos of shabu from China seized in a warehouse in Valenzuela City,” and “The killing of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and some of his family members while members of the Ozamiz City police were serving search warrants issued by the courts,” all 50 percent;

(8) “The continued patrols of the Chinese navy and coast guard despite the decision of the International Court that the West Philippine Sea is part of the Philippines,” 48 percent;

(9) “The threat of North Korea that it will attack territories of the United States,” 43 percent; and

(10) “The impeachment case filed in Congress against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno,” 35 percent.

Surely, all of these have implications for the people’s opinions as to how they are being governed. Public opinion is a very large, complex tapestry. The Marawi conflict occupied a major part of the tapestry in the third quarter of 2017, and will probably continue to do so for some time.

Ruping Alonzo +. Social Weather Stations mourns the untimely passing of Ruperto “Ruping” Alonzo, social indicators research pioneer, on Nov. 7. Ruping authored “Indicators for Learning,” a chapter in the book “Measuring Philippine Development” (1976). He was professor of economics at the University of the Philippines until retirement. At SWS, he was a Fellow since 1989, and a board member in 2001-07.

Contact mahar.mangahas@sws.org.ph.

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