SWS: Majority of Filipinos support martial law in Mindanao

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 12) — Majority of Filipinos support President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to declare martial law in Mindanao, although six out of ten disagree it should be enforced in the rest of the country, a nationwide poll showed Tuesday.

Of the ninety-two percent of 1,200 adults surveyed who said they were aware of martial law, 57 percent said Proclamation No. 216 declaring military rule in Mindanao was the right decision, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in its second quarter 2017 survey.

Malacanang welcomed Tuesday's survey results, saying it validated am earlier  previous SWS survey that showed record-high satisfaction ratings for the President amid the Marawi crisis.

READ: PH satisfaction with Duterte hits record high amid Marawi crisis – SWS

"The positive public response indicates that they believe the factual and legal basis of the proclamation of martial law for Mindanao; which includes the Maute Group's attempt to remove allegiance from the government and to deprive the Chief Executive of his powers to enforce the laws and maintain public order and safety," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

​However, 29 percent of respondents said martial law should have been limited to the province of Lanao del Sur including Marawi City the provincial capital,  while 11 percent said it should have been declared only in Lanao del Sur and nearby provinces. The remaining two percent were undecided.

Concurrence with Duterte's declaration was highest in Mindanao, where 64 percent agreed with Proclamation No. 216, followed by Metro Manila at 58 percent, Visayas at 57 percent, and Balance Luzon at 53 percent.

Middle to upper class respondents were the most supportive of martial law with 70 percent of respondents in class ABC saying they agreed with it, followed by class E at 58 percent, and class D at 56 percent.

Majority oppose expansion of martial law

The survey was conducted June 23 to 26, a month into Proclamation No. 216. The results showed that at least six out of ten Filipinos disagree with expanding martial law's coverage beyond Mindanao.

SWS said 63 percent disagreed that Duterte should also declare martial law in Visayas, while 67 disagreed it should be declared in Luzon.

Opposition towards declaring martial law in Visayas was highest in Visayas, where 79 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement, followed by 71 percent in Metro Manila and 68 percent in the rest of Luzon.

Meanwhile, 79 percent of respondents from Metro Manila disagreed with declaring martial law in Luzon, followed by the rest of Luzon and Visayas at 76 percent each,

However, Mindanaoans bucked the nationwide trend, with 43 percent saying Duterte should declare martial law in Visayas, just five percentage points over those who disagreed; while 40 percent agreed that it should be expanded to Luzon, just two percentage points ahead of those who disagreed.

Presidential Spokeperson Ernesto Abella reacted to this finding saying the expansion of martial law will depend on the police and military's assessment of the ground situation.

"As to the same survey showing that majority, except in Mindanao, opposes expanding martial law in Luzon and in the Visayas, it is noteworthy to mention that all these would depend on the situation on the ground as assessed and recommended by military and police authorities," he said in the statement.

President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 after the ISIS-linked Maute group stormed Marawi City.

Following the declaration, petitions on its legality were brought to the Supreme Court but were dismissed on July 4.

READ: Supreme Court upholds martial law in Mindanao

The declaration has a 60-day lifespan and is set to lapse two days before the President delivers his July 24 State Of The Nation address (SONA).