SWS: 73 percent of adult Filipinos say religion 'very important'

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2021 11:10 PM

A customer haggles with a vendor selling various religious images outside the Quiapo Church in Manila on March 25, 2021, a few days before Holy Week. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Majority of Filipinos said religion is very important in their lives, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Wednesday.

The November 21-25, 2020 poll found that 73 percent of Filipinos said religion is very important in their lives, an answer that has been dominant in all SWS surveys since 2015, the pollster said.

But the latest rating is 10 points lower than the record-high 83 percent in December 2019, SWS said.

The survey also found that 46 percent attend religious services weekly, while 25 percent attend monthly, and 27 percent occasionally. 

The survey, likewise, showed that more than half, or 53 percent of respondents participate in religious services by attending in person in the past three months. Twenty-four percent attended services online or on TV, while 5 percent attended services online and by watching online or on TV.

The remaining 14 percent said they did not participate in religious services in the past three months.

DECLINE IN PERCENTAGES EXCEPT IN MINDANAO

The recent survey showed that the percentage of those who consider religion as "very important" is highest in Mindanao at 88 percent, followed by Metro Manila and Balance Luzon at 70 percent each, and the Visayas at 64 percent.

Compared to the December 2019 survey, there was a decline in all regions, except in Mindanao, where those who say religion is very important rose from 85 percent to 88 percent.

Among religious groups, Catholics and Christians showed a decline among their members who say religion is very important.

In December 2019, 84 percent of Catholics said so, but the percentage went down to 71 in the November 2020 survey. From 78 percent, the rate also dropped to 71 among Christians.

On the other hand, the percentage rose among members of Iglesia ni Cristo, from 69 percent to 88 percent.

ATTENDING RELIGIOUS SERVICES 

Attending religious services in person is higher among those less educated, with 65 percent of non-elementary graduates doing it compared to 48 percent among college graduates.

On the other hand, attending religious services online or on TV rises with the respondent's educational attainment: 35 percent of college graduates attend online/televised religious services, while only 14 percent do so among non-elementary graduates.

The Fourth Quarter 2020 Social Weather Survey, the first in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, used face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide, with sampling error margins of ±2.5 percent for national percentages, ±4 percent for Balance Luzon, and ±6 percent for Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The Philippines, which remains a Catholic-majority country, has limited the attendance in religious services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Metro Manila and nearby provinces that are under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 4, religious gatherings are prohibited.

The Philippines is observing the Holy Week this week, during which Christians commemorate and reflect on the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. 

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