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Filipinos back MILF peace talks—SWS

/ 02:42 AM May 05, 2015
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Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Most Filipinos believe peaceful negotiations are more effective in dealing with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed, but the number of adults who held this opinion declined from last year.

“Despite the recent drop in March 2015, the ratio of those who prefer peaceful negotiations to those who prefer military operations is 2 to 1,” SWS said.

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In the survey, conducted from March 20 to 23, two months after the Mamasapano incident, 45 percent of the respondents said peaceful negotiations were more effective, 20 percent said military operations were more effective and 35 percent said peaceful negotiations and military operations were equally effective.

Compared to the same month last year, those who believed that peaceful negotiations were more effective decreased by 17 points from 62 percent while those who said military operations were more effective rose by 11 points from 9 percent. Those who said military operations and peaceful negotiations were equally effective rose by 6 points from 29 percent.

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Since 1999, there have been 12 national surveys on the effective means in dealing with the MILF. SWS noted that peaceful negotiations had been consistently seen as the more effective way compared to military operations.

On Jan. 25, Special Action Force commandos went to Moro rebel-controlled Mamasapano to arrest Malaysian terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and Amin Baco, alias “Jihad,” and their Filipino associate, Basit Usman. The commandos killed Marwan but the mission left 44 commandos, 17 MILF fighters and three civilians dead.

Usman was killed in a military operation in Guindulungan town, Maguindanao on Sunday.

A previous report on the same survey also found lower satisfaction with the government’s performance on 12 out of the 16 issues rated. In particular, ratings on issues concerning peace efforts fell.

The score on the issue of defending the country’s territorial rights dropped from plus 40 last December to plus 22 in March, while the issue on reconciliation with Muslim rebels was scored minus 3 in March, down from plus 15 in December 2014, and the government’s performance on the issue of reconciliation with Communist rebels declined from plus 17 to minus 3.

Overall, the Aquino administration got a plus 19 net satisfaction score, down 15 points from plus 34 in December last year and one grade from “good” to “moderate.”

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points for national percentages.

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The question on the effective means in dealing with the MILF is part of a module on the Mamasapano incident and the Bangsamoro Basic Law which were included in the SWS survey in partnership with The Asia Foundation. The full results of the module will be presented in a public forum on May 15 at the Balay Kalinaw Conference Hall at UP Diliman.–Inquirer Research

 

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TAGS: MILF, peace process, Peace Talks, Philippines, survey, SWS
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