MANILA - Most Filipinos are neutral towards the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Friday.
The SWS survey, conducted from June 27 to 30, 2018, revealed that 40 percent of the respondents are undecided on the proposed measure, which grants wider self-rule to the Muslim minority in the south.
Some 31 percent of Filipinos agree on the passage of BBL, which has been renamed Bangsamoro Organic Law, while 28 percent disagree.
The final draft of the bill, which will create a Bangsamoro entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was approved Wednesday by the bicameral conference committee.
The reconciled version of the measure from both chambers is expected to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.
Though taking a neutral stance on the topic, most Filipinos tend to believe that BBL will bring peace to Mindanao, according to the survey.
In terms of geographical area, responses differ.
Metro Manila is moderate in its agreement with +29, Balance Luzon is also moderate with +19, Visayas is neutral with -4, and Mindanao is neutral with +7.
Nationwide, college educated respondents are moderately positive about the approval of BBL.
Some 44 percent of them agree, 25 percent of them disagree, and 31 percent of them are undecided of the bill.
In terms of religion, Catholics and other Christians, who account for 90 percent of the sample, are neutral on having the BBL passed by Congress.
Muslims, which form 7 percent of the sample, are very much in favor of BLL at extremely strong with +55.
Iglesia Ni Cristo members, meanwhile, are moderately favorable to the bill with +27. The religious group only constitutes 3 percent of the sample.
The major pollster said opinion on BBL has not always been neutral.
"In past years, reaching back to 2012 (the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed in October 2012), Filipinos tended to have a moderately positive attitude towards that agreement, with moderate net agreement scores ranging from +16 to +26," SWS said.
But public opinion took a nosedive in 2015 following the Mamasapano clash in Maguindanao that left 44 elite police commandos dead.
"The resulting uproar turned sentiment around, and for the rest of 2015 Filipino public opinion was moderately negative, ranging from neutral -8 to poor -24," SWS added.
The proposed measure died in Congress before the end of the administration of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
The latest SWS nationwide survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a sampling error margins of ±3 for national percentages and ±6 for regional percentages.