45% of Filipinos say next president must implement Bangsamoro deal

MANILA, Philippines – Forty-five percent or nearly 5 in 10 Filipinos said the next president should implement agreements between the outgoing Aquino administration and the Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as stated in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). This is according to a survey conducted by polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Only 23% of the population opposed the CAB and the rest (31%) are undecided, according to the poll.

The Philippines will elect on Monday, May 9, the successor of President Benigno Aquino III. Only two of the 5 presidential candidates agreed that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which seeks to implement the CAB, must be passed.

It will create the Bangsamoro region, which will replace and will have more powers than the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Survey leader Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the BBL will help correct "historical injustices" committed against Muslim Filipinos. Administration candidate Manuel Roxas II also vowed to continue the Aquino administration's peace efforts.

Aquino played a key role in the landmark peace deal that seeks to end decades of armed conflict in southern Philippines. But he failed to get the BBL passed in Congress, following a national outcry over the death of 44 elite cops inside MILF territory in Maguindanao. Lawmakers withdrew their support for the deal and raised constitutionality questions against the powers of the proposed Bangsamoro region.

“The survey proves that most Filipinos want to sustain the gains achieved by President Benigno S. Aquino III and his administration in resolving the Bangsamoro issue,” said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles.

The peace deal received the strongest support from residents of the National Capital Region (51%) and the least support from residents of the Visayas (36%). Nearly 5 in 10 residents of Mindanao (48%) and the rest of Luzon (47%) also support it. 

The survey was conducted among 1,500 respondents from March 30 to April 2. It was commissioned by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“Strong foundations have been laid down by this administration to find lasting political solutions to the decades-old armed conflict in Mindanao. Now, the challenge is for the incoming administration to uphold and implement those agreements,” she added. – Rappler.com