June 21, 2024 – Livelihood is the top priority for voters in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), according to a recent survey by IAG Research. The survey reveals that 62% of likely voters place livelihood projects at the forefront of their concerns, reflecting the immediate need for economic stability in the region.


The survey, conducted from April 29 to May 14, 2024, included 3,072 respondents with a sample size of 384 respondents each from Cotabato City, Special Geographic Area, and the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. This sample size provides a 99% confidence level with a 1.77% confidence interval. Provincial margins are at a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error.


Likely voters are defined as registered voters who intend to vote in next year's regional parliamentary elections. BARMM had 2.7 million registered voters for the May 2022 elections, with 2.09 million actually voting, according to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).


Following livelihood projects, education and scholarships (46.3%) and good jobs (41.5%) are the next most frequently mentioned issues, indicating a strong desire for future security. Peace and order (39.9%) also remains a significant concern, but it is more focused on everyday crime and personal safety rather than violent extremism and terrorism, which is a lesser concern despite the region's history with the Marawi Siege of 2017.


Interestingly, even in Lanao del Sur, where violent extremism and terrorism have been significant issues, only 9.9% of likely voters see it as a major concern. Instead, peace and order issues dominate in the Special Geographic Area (65.9%), Maguindanao del Sur (62.5%), and Cotabato City (56.3%), where worries over clan conflicts (rido) and election-related violence are intensifying. Fighting violent extremism ranks near the bottom in these areas (4.2%, 4.7%, and 6.8%, respectively).


When asked to choose the single most important issue from their list of concerns, 31.8% of respondents selected livelihood projects. Education and scholarships (14.8%), peace and order (13.7%), and good jobs (11.2%) follow.


Voters in BARMM also consider a party's overall platform and action plans (30.7%), personal help (27%), and the endorsement of local government officials (26.5%) as significant factors when deciding whom to vote for. Social influences such as family and friends' choices (21.6%) and shared religion (18.8%) are also important.


Minor influences include endorsements from national government leaders (7.6%) and traditional and tribal leaders (6.4%), with regional government leaders being slightly more influential (11.6%).


When asked to pinpoint the single most important reason for voting for a party, likely voters named the party’s overall platform and action plans (22.1%), followed by the endorsement of local government leaders (17.8%) and personal help (16.6%).


Released on June 20, the survey also highlights the lack of awareness of the new voting system and key features of the upcoming 2025 regional parliamentary elections. The report recommends accelerating the education campaign on the 2025 BARMM elections.


READ: Education Campaign on the 2025 BARMM Elections Needs to be Accelerated, IAG Research Finds


Additionally, the survey finds that women constitute a significant majority of likely voters (54.2%). However, issues specifically related to women’s rights take a back seat to more immediate economic concerns, underscoring the pressing reality that economic deprivation often overshadows gender equality ideals.


READ: In BARMM, More Women Than Men Are Likely Voters, but Basic Needs Trump Gender Equality Ideals


For press information about the survey, contact IAG Research at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


About IAG Research

IAG Research, affiliated with the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), is a leading authority on human security and governance issues in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Leveraging IAG’s in-depth understanding of the BARMM’s cultural context, governance dynamics, and historical conflicts, IAG Research produces pioneering research that sheds light on critical issues facing the region. Its studies have influenced policy and program development throughout the Philippines, impacting areas such as Indigenous Peoples’ rights, madrasah education, and the prevention of violent extremism. This commitment to impactful research establishes IAG Research as a vital contributor to positive change within the BARMM.

IAG Research is located at Unit 801 8F The Linden Suites, No. 37 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines.