MANILA - Public sentiment on the effects of martial law on the economy is neutral but is bordering on the negative, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Wednesday.
The survey conducted last June 23-26, 2017 found that 43 percent of 1,200 respondents do not expect any change in the economy despite military rule in Mindanao, 33 percent expect the economy to get worse while 24 percent said they expect the economy to get better.
The difference between the percentage of Filipinos who said the economy will get worse and those who said it will improve yielded a -9 national balance of opinion, which is "on the lower borderline of what SWS classifies as 'Neutral,'" the pollster said.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed all of Mindanao under martial rule last May 23 after Islamic State-linked terrorists laid siege to the southern city of Marawi.
In a joint session last Saturday, Congress voted to extend martial law until December 31 as security forces struggled to flush out the extremists with daily airstrikes and combat operations.
Some businessmen have warned that expanded martial law would imply that there would be "more disruptions to economic activity."
SENTIMENT ACROSS REGIONS
SWS said the balance of opinion in Balance Luzon is net - 14, with 36 percent of respondents expecting the economy to worsen while 22 percent said it will get better.
In the Visayas, the balance of opinion is net -13, with 37 percent saying the economy will worsen while 24 percent said it will get better.
SWS said the double-digit negative balances are classified as moderately unfavorable.
In Mindanao, the balance of opinion is zero with 27 percent of respondents expecting the economy to get better and 27 percent saying it will get worse.
In the National Capital Region, 29 percent of respondents said the economy will improve while 23 percent said it will worsen - for a balance of opinion of net -7.
The survey also showed that 43 percent of Class ABC respondents expect the economy to worsen after the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, compared to 35 percent who expect it to remain the same and 22 percent who said it will be better.
In comparison, 42 percent of Class D respondents said they expect the economy to remain the same while 33 percent said it will worsen.
Among Class E respondents, 47 percent said they expect the economy under martial law to remain the same while 30 percent said it will worsen.
The June 23 to 26 SWS survey was first published by BusinessWorld. It has sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6 points each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas.
The emergence of groups pledging allegiance to Islamic State has been considered the biggest security problem to face the year-old Duterte administration.
The rise of pro-Islamic State groups in the country has also raised alarm in Washington and the Philippines’ neighbors in the region, which fear that the notorious terror group was seeking to establish a new front in Asia amid its successive losses in Iraq and Syria.