Pulse Asia: 44% of Pinoys against Bangsamoro law

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Residents displaced by fighting evacuate on March 2, 2015 in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

(CNN Philippines) — About four out of 10 (44%) Filipinos oppose the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, according to a recent nationwide independent survey by Pulse Asia. This figure stands in stark contrast to just 21% who favor it, and 36% who are undecided. The survey also notes that nearly nine out of 10 (88%) Filipinos are aware of the bill.

When classified according the country's three major island groups, the pollster says that disagreement with the BBL is more pronounced in Mindanao (62%) than in Luzon (32%) and the Visayas (43%).

On ratification, the BBL will create a new political entity that replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The new Bangsamoro region will have its own constitution, its own parliament, and even its own police force. 

Related: Where will the Bangsamoro funds go?

Pulse Asia's survey was conducted from March 1 to 7, a little over a month after Oplan Exodus — a government operation to arrest suspected terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

It deteriorated into a firefight between Moro troops and commandos of the elite Special Action Force (SAF), resulting in the deaths of 44 SAF commandos, 18 Moro soldiers, and five civilians. 

'Broken momentum'

"The peace that so many have worked for and many more have dreamed of had been close within our grasp in the advent of the new year. Now, the momentum has been broken," said Secretary Teresita "Ging" Quintos-Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, in a speech last Wednesday (March 18) before the Institute for Peace and Reconciliation of the Association of the South East Asian Nations.

"After Mamasapano, the old biases, the submerged fears, and, yes, bigotry have again exploded in our body politic.  Once again, we stare at the ghosts of the past that have haunted our quest of many decades," she added.

According to the report, virtually all Filipinos (99%) are aware of the January 25 incident.

It adds that 79% of Filipinos considers as insufficient the administration's explanation of the operation.

The same figure also disagreed with President Benigno Aquino III's decision not to attend the arrival honors of the fallen policemen at the Villamor Air Base.

However, only 29% believed the he should immediately resign.

Pulse Asia's results were released on Thursday (March 19).

The pollster says that 1,200 individuals aged 18 years old and above were interviewed nationwide, and that the report has a + 3% margin of error and a 95% confidence level.

A separate nonscientific online poll by CNN Philippines shows that 73% of respondents are not in favor of the BBL.

Deles hopes that the BBL is passed this year: "Assuming that the BBL is passed in June, we will have to move on quickly to a plebiscite to ratify the law before we install a Bangsamoro Transition Authority that will pave the way for the election of the first regular Bangsamoro government simultaneous with our 2016 national elections. That roadmap of peace milestones will have to be completed in a period of less than a year from June 2015 to May 2016."