Social Climate

The nation favors the BOL

/ 05:10 AM January 26, 2019

The voting in Monday’s plebiscite in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Isabela City and Cotabato City seems to confirm the mood of Muslim Filipinos in the nation as a whole toward the Bangsamoro Organic Law (see “Fourth Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey: 79% of Muslims favor approval of the BOL,” www.sws.org.ph, 1/21/19).

The cited 79 percent refers not to voters in the plebiscite, some (a minority) of whom are non-Muslims, but to Muslim Filipinos anywhere in the country. The survey respondents were not asked how they would vote, but what outcome they wanted from the plebiscite.


The national result is that 36 percent of all Filipinos favor ratification of the BOL and 22 percent oppose it; the rest, a 42 percent plurality, are neutral. This gives a national net approval of +14 = 36 – 22, which SWS calls moderate (from +10 to +29).

Among Muslims, however, only 7 percent oppose the BOL, and so their net approval is 79 – 7 = +72, which is extremely strong (+70 and up). We call the approval strong when +30 to +49 and very strong when +50 to +69.


Catholics are 33 percent in favor and 22 percent opposed, for a moderate net approval of +10 (rounded correctly). Iglesia ni Cristo members are 26 percent pro and 12 percent con, or net +15 (rounded correctly), also moderate.  Other Christians are 37 percent pro and 28 percent con, or net +9; a single-digit difference is neutral.

The BOL has moderate support in the National Capital Region (NCR), Balance of Luzon and Visayas. NCR is 37 percent pro, 14 percent con and 37 percent neutral; that is net +13 in favor. Balance of Luzon is 33 percent pro, 17 percent con and 50 percent neutral, or net +16. Visayas is 37 percent pro, 20 percent opposed and 37 percent neutral, or net +17. These are all moderate approvals.

Mindanao, on the other hand, has a 41 percent plurality in favor, 31 percent opposed and 28 percent neutral, or net +9 (correctly rounded). Its significant opposition comes, obviously, from those outside the ARMM.

Knowledge of the BOL goes toward supporting it.  Among Muslims, 10 percent say they know the BOL extensively, 35 percent know it partially but sufficiently, 33 percent know it a little and 22 percent know nothing or almost nothing of it.

Thus, 45 percent of Muslims know the BOL at least partially. On the other hand, only 23 percent of Catholics, 17 percent of Iglesia ni Cristo members and 22 percent of other Christians know it at least partially.

The net support for the BOL is a strong +43 among those knowing the BOL extensively, also +43 among those knowing it partially, a moderate +17 among those knowing it a little and a neutral -9 among those knowing nothing of it. Wider dissemination and discussion of the BOL will tend to raise public support for it.

Confidence in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also raises support for the BOL. Among Muslims, 56 percent consider the MILF definitely capable of governing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), 21 percent call it somewhat capable, 16 percent are unsure of its capability and 8 percent call it somewhat/definitely incapable. The MILF has a very high +68 net capability score among Muslims, but only +8 among Catholics, -6 among INCs and -2 among Other Christians.


Net approval of the BOL is +60 among those calling the MILF definitely capable, +48 for those calling it somewhat capable, +9 among those undecided, -21 for those calling it somewhat incapable and -38 calling it definitely incapable of governing the BARMM. This is a challenge to the MILF to prove its worth.

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TAGS: ARMM, Bangsamoro, BOL, net approval, SWS
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