The government will launch a massive and intense information and education campaign to convince more Filipinos, especially the high number of the undecided, to understand and support the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law(BBL).
Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said that while 44% of Filipinos said they disagreed with the BBL, a high percentage--36%--also said they are undecided on their position in the survey conducted by polling firm Pulse Asia from March 1-7 among 1,200 respondents nationwide.
"It means that many have not made up their minds and would benefit from an intensified information, education, and communications program (IEC) on the BBL," Deles explained.
She said an intense information blitz may also sway part of the 44% to support the draft law.
Lack of support comes from lack of information
"I wonder how many of them have read the BBL," asked Deles when asked to comment on the survey result that 44% of Filipinos disagree with the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL. "Knowing that many of them most likely lack information or are misinformed, then we still have a chance to significantly decrease that number with an IEC on BBL."
"No doubt about it, the 44% also reflects the result of the serious misinformation which has been spread regarding the BBL," she added. "Maraming mga maling impormasyon ang kumalat, (Too much misinformation was spread) -- wrong information on the peace process, the negotiating panels, and of course on the BBL, so we already expected that there will be a higher number on those who will disagree."
In the weeks following the tragic results of a law enforcement operation by the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25, 2015, that left at least 67 dead, the peace process being pursued by the Aquino Administration with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF came under heavy criticism.
Survey conducted after nation reeled from Mamasapano
The peace adviser said that the January 25 incident left the nation reeling.
"It was a very difficult time for the country, with the grief that we all felt over the deaths of so many in one incident. And it provided the much-awaited opportunity for many to pursue their interests against the BBL or the Aquino Administration, political or otherwise."
The peace adviser pointed out that although the difference between those who agreed, 21%, and those who disagreed, 44%, to the passage of BBL is significant, the numbers still offer hope for the peace process, especially the 36% who remain undecided.
Deles said she believes many who disagreed with the BBL will change their minds and support the Bangsamoro if they are to know and understand the BBL and the good it will bring to fellow Filipinos and the country.
"Tayong mga Pilipino kasi ay likas na mapagmalasakit at matulungin sa kapwa. Basta alam nating tama, tutulong at tutulong tayo sa mga naaapi at nangangailangan (Filipinos are naturally kind-hearted and like helping other people. As long as we know it is right, we will help the downtrodden and the needy)," she said.
"Making our people see the truth from the many lies that have been told about the peace process is a challenge that we are confident we will overcome. If we were able to successfully achieve a high 88% awareness on the BBL before the Mamasapano incident happened, we will certainly work hard to achieve as much, if not more, than that with a well-informed public who support the BBL."
Deles said that this can also be true of the 62% from
Mindanao who disagree with the passage of the BBL.
"I think that fear borne out of misinformation has something to do with it. Even before the Mamasapano incident, there were already rumors being spread around of prohibitions against certain practices of Christians, etc., that will be imposed, or that the take-over by the MILF of local government rule once the Bangsamoro is established. These are falsehoods that our people are working hard to correct."
The peace adviser also said that the number does not reflect the true sentiments of the Bangsamoro who comprise approximately 18% only of the 17.8 million population of the whole
region. "The voices of communities who are most affected by the ravages of
conflict remain strong in their call for peace.