SWS: 1 of 4 Filipino adults aware of federalism

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28) — Public awareness of federalism, one of the Duterte administration's campaign promises, is low  as a new independent survey shows only one in four Filipinos are aware of it.

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey for the first quarter of 2018 showed 25 percent of Filipino adults have been aware of the federal system, while 75 percent only knew what it is upon answering the survey.

The polls released Thursday also showed 37 percent of Filipino adults agree with the federal system, while 29 percent disagree. This yields a net agreement score of +7, clasified by the SWS as "neutral."

Thirty four percent, or a third, are undecided.

Awareness was highest in Mindanao at 37 percent, followed by Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Balance Luzon. More Filipinos were also in support of federalism in Mindanao, with a very strong net agreement score of +43.

The survey also said support for the federal system was highest among Muslims at 47 percent. Christians, Catholics, and Iglesia Ni Cristo members had neutral scores ranging from +2 to +9.

SWS conducted the poll on March 23 to 27, 2018 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said with the poll results, government needs to work harder on its information campaign about federalism. He said government is awaiting the output of the Constitutional Commission's review, which began last March.

"Expected talaga 'yan dahil matatapos pa lang ang gawain ng Constitutional Commission at inaasahan natin na 'yung susunod naman na yugto ng buhay ng komisyon na 'yan ay 'yung pagpapakalat ng kung ano 'yung mga pagbabago, at ano 'yung mga benepisyo sa taumbayan," he said during a media briefing Tuesday.

[Translation: We're expecting that since the Constitutional Commission is just about to finish its job and we expect the next phase to be information dissemination of the charter amendments and benefits to the people.]

The final draft of the proposed revised Constitution is due for submission to Malacañang in June.

Among President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promises is a shift from the unitary presidential government to a federal form of government.  Roque on Monday said uneven economic growth in the provinces in contrast to the capital is one of the reasons Duterte is pushing for the shift.

Muslims have also pushed for an autonomous government under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Duterte sees the BBL as a framework that can pave the way for federalism.