A big plurality of Filipinos are opposed to moves to amend the Constitution now, with 44% rejecting the proposal while 37% support it, a Pulse Asia survey revealed Monday.
The survey, conducted last July 2 to 8 with 1,200 respondents, also showed that 39% of Filipinos support the proposal to shift to a federal form of government, compared to 33% who are against it.
The Philippines is paving the way to shift to a federal form of government by 2022, after President Rodrigo Duterte agreed with the leaders of Congress to set up a body to amend the constitution.
Duterte, who swept to power in May on a wave of public anti-establishment frustration over crime and poverty, wants to switch from a centralized government to devolve power to long-neglected poor provinces and spread wealth more evenly.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said granting more, and specific, powers to the state governments would mean a reduction in bureaucratic red tape.
The aim is for a plebiscite on the constitutional changes to be held along with mid-term elections in 2019, Alvarez said, followed by a transition period until the expiry of Duterte's six-year term in 2022.
The proposal will create 11 to 12 states, lumped together from rich and poor provinces, with greater autonomy.
Philippines sets the ball rolling for federal system
The Pulse Asia survey revealed that about four in 10 Filipinos (41%) said they have heard, read of watched something about the proposals to change the Constitution over the past few months.
The survey also showed that 73% of Filipinos have little or no knowledge at all about the country's Constitution - with 45% knowing only a little while 28% have almost or completely no knowledge at all. It showed that even among those aware of the proposals to amend the Charter, about 56% have little or no knowledge at all about the 1987 Constitution.
Pulse Asia said the plurality sentiment among Filipinos (44%) is one of opposition to Charter change at the moment - a view shared by virtually the same percentages of those aware of Charter change proposals and those with a great deal/sufficient knowledge about the Constitution (both at 42%).
Last November 2014, nearly half of Filipinos (49%) said the Philippine Constitution should not be amended at that time.
Meanwhile, more Filipinos support Charter change now (37%) than express indecision on the matter (19%).
PRESIDENTIAL TO PARLIAMENTARY
The survey also showed that Filipinos are split on the proposal to change the country's form of government from a presidential to a parliamentary form: 37% of Filipinos are against it, 33% are in favor and 30% cannot say whether or not they support such a change.
The survey showed 43% of Luzon respondents oppose the proposal, which is similar to the 42% of Visayans who also reject it.
Thirty-one percent of Visayans are ambivalent on the matter of shifting to a parliamentary system of government.
On the other hand, the proposal to shift to a federal form of government was backed by 39% of Filipinos compared to 33% who oppose it and 28% who are undecided.
Forty-seven percent of the respondents who say they know a great deal or have sufficient knowledge about the Constitution backed the proposal to shift to a federal form of government.
The survey has a ± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level. With a report by Reuters