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6 in 10 Pinoys oppose martial law beyond Mindanao

AT LEAST six out of 10 residents from Luzon and the Visayas opposed the idea of extending martial law outside Mindanao, even if majority of Filipinos supported its imposition in Mindanao last month, the June 23 to 26 survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

The survey, involving 1,200 respondents nationwide, showed that 63 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that the President “should also declare martial law in the Visayas,” while 23 percent agreed.  This means a net agreement rating of -40.

Opposition to the proposed extension of martial law in the Visayas was highest among respondents from Visayas (79 percent disagree, 15 percent agree) and Metro Manila (71 percent disagree, 20 percent agree) while close to a majority of respondents from Mindanao agreed to its expansion (43 percent agree, 38 percent disagree).

The SWS results also showed that 67 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that Duterte “should also declare martial law in Luzon” while 20 percent agreed. This resulted in a net agreement score of -47.

Opposition to the proposed extension of martial law in Luzon was highest among respondents from Metro Manila (79 percent disagree, 13 percent agree) and in Luzon (76 percent disagree, 13 percent agree). Many respondents from Mindanao agreed to its expansion (40 percent agree, 38 percent disagree).

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Malacañang acknowledges the sentiments of the public but reassured that the decision on whether to expand the coverage of martial law outside of Mindanao or extend its imposition “would depend on the situation on the ground as assessed and recommended by military and police authorities.”

The SWS survey also showed that 57 percent favored the imposition of martial law in Mindanao. Around 29 percent said “it should have been declared only for Marawi City and the province of Lanao del Sur” and 11 percent said “it should have been declared only for Marawi City, the province of Lanao de Sur and nearby provinces.” Two percent said they were undecided.

Abella said the support of the majority for martial law validates the Filipinos’ approval of the performance of the President during the last quarter where he garnered a “very good” +66 satisfaction rating.

He said the positive public response is also indicative indicates that the public believed that there was “factual and legal basis” for the imposition of martial law in Mindanao last May 23.

Abella said public interest along with the recommendations of the military and the police would be the main considerations of President Duterte in deciding whether to extend the implementation of martial law.

PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa has said he favors the extension of martial law, which is set to lapse on July 22.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said: “We have stated our position that the AFP will conduct an assessment on the need to extend or not ML (martial law.)

“That assessment will then recommend our position for the commander-in-chief’s perusal and approval. Let us wait for that. Whatever the commander-in-chief’s decision is, the AFP will be ready to comply and implement,” Padilla also said.

(By JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR, With Victor Reyes, Malaya)