MANILA -- (2nd UPDATE) Around 2 in 3 Filipinos are against changing the 1987 Constitution at this time and a majority oppose a shift to federalism, a major pollster said Monday.
Asked if the Constitution should be amended "now," 67 percent of 1,800 respondents said no, 18 percent said yes, while 14 percent said they didn't know or couldn't say, Pulse Asia Inc said.
The poll was done on June 15 to 21, 2 weeks before President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee submitted the draft federal Constitution to his office. The proposal also had not been made public during the survey period.
Of those who said no, 30 percent said the charter should not be amended now, but could be changed sometime in the future, while 37 percent said it should not be changed "now or any other time."
NO TO FEDERALISM
Asked whether or not they were in favor of a shift to federalism, 62 percent said they were not in favor while 28 percent said they were in favor, Pulse Asia said. Ten percent said they didn't know or couldn't say.
Of those who opposed the adoption of federalism, 34 percent said the system of government shouldn't be changed "now or any other time," while 28 percent it might be changed "sometime in the future."
Public opinion on federalism is "practically unchanged" between March and June at the national level. Support for federalism, however, eased in Metro Manila, down 19 points at 23 percent, while it became more pronounced in Mindanao, up 18 points to 51 percent, Pulse Asia said.
AWARENESS OF FEDERALISM
The survey also showed that 74 percent said they had "little to no knowledge" of the proposed federal form of government while 26 percent said they knew a "great deal to sufficient."
Knowledge levels are "essentially unchanged" between June and March, the pollster said..
Malacañang said it will boost efforts to educate the public on federalism.
"We cannot expect our people to support an initiative, which they know only little about," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
"We will therefore exert even more effort to inform and educate our citizens about federalism since the approval of the proposed changes in our current Charter ultimately lies in the hands of the Filipino people," he added.
According to the draft federal constitution, the country will be divided into 18 regions which will have greater control over their own affairs.
The shift to federalism is among the President's key campaign promises during the 2016 elections. Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, promised to spread political power and resources, that have long been held in the capital, Manila.
Critics, however, have accused Duterte and his allies in Congress of moving to amend the Constitution to keep themselves in power because the proposed federal constitution will allow him to run for 2 additional 4-year terms.
Duterte has repeatedly said that he would not seek an extension of his term after the country shifts to federalism.
The draft federal constitution needs to hurdle a congressional debate and a referendum before it can become a law.
The federalism survey had a ± 2 percent error margin, the pollster said.