Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trust in rebel groups poor to very bad -- SWS poll

TRUST RATINGS of rebel movements and armed groups ranged from “poor” to “very bad” in the first quarter of the year, according to a new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey published on its Web site on Monday, June 19.

The noncommissioned survey covering the first quarter of 2017 had net trust rating scores (% much trust minus % little trust) of “poor” -10 for the National Democratic Front (NDF), “poor” -27 for the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA), “bad” -38 for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), “bad” -39 for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and “very bad” -62 for the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

The scores among the rebel groups varied among Muslim and other religious segments. But in all these segments, net trust in the ASG ranged from very bad to the lowest grade of execrable, particularly among the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) bloc.

The SWS terminology for net trust ratings is as follows: +70 and above, “excellent”; +50 to +69, “very good”; +30 to +49, “good”; +10 to +29, “moderate”; +9 to -9, “neutral”; -10 to -29, “poor”; -30 to -49, “bad”; -50 to -69, “very bad”; -70 and below, “execrable.”


The survey was conducted on March 25-28, about two months before the Maute terrorist group attacked Marawi City, a crisis that today marks its first month.

The survey was conducted via face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide and with sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages, and ±6 points each for “Balance Luzon,” Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Among Muslims, the net trust rating for the MILF was an “excellent” +74, compared with its “bad” grade of -42 among Catholics, a “very bad” -52 among other religions, and a “very bad” -55 among the INC members.

The MNLF obtained a net trust rating of “very good” +50 among Muslims, compared with a “bad” -41 among Catholics, “very bad” -50 among other religions, and “very bad” -56 among the INC.

Formerly the mother organization of the MILF, the MNLF held Zamboanga City hostage in a bloody three-week siege in 2013 -- an event now being referenced in today’s month-long government clash with the Maute.

Yet amid that back story, President Rodrigo R. Duterte in efforts to pursue peace with various rebel groups welcomed MNLF leader Nur Misuari in Malacañang last November.

The ASG, on the other hand, had a net trust rating of “very bad “-64 among Muslims, “very bad” -60 among Catholics, “just one grade above the execrable” -72 among other religions and “execrable” -77 among the INC.


“Public trust in rebel movements and armed groups has been generally low,” said SWS, which has conducted surveys on these groups since the 1990s.

SWS cited, among other figures, net trust for the NDF within the range of “poor” to “bad,” if at times peaking to “neutral.” Net trust for the CPP/NPA also ranged from “bad” to “very bad” -- apart from their “record-high score of a neutral -5 in June 2016,” SWS said. It was around this time that Mr. Duterte, fresh from his election victory that year, sought to revive peace talks with the communists.

Net trust ratings for both the MNLF and MILF have also been within the range of “poor” to “very bad.”

The ASG has largely stayed “execrable” -- “before going to very bad from June 2014 to March 2017, ranging from -62 to -69,” SWS said.

Sought for comment, Ramon C. Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said armed groups obtained negative trust ratings as rebels.

“Rebels, by definition, are outside the mainstream. Unless the government is unpopular, like the Marcos regime, they will not get the support of the majority,” Mr. Casiple said in a text message yesterday.

He noted too that “the Moro rebellion has legitimacy among Muslims.”

Source: Business World Online, By Raynan F. Javil

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