By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
The number of Filipinos who said that religion is “very important” hit a three-year high in the last quarter of 2019, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
In a survey conducted from Dec. 13 to 16, 2019 among 1,200 respondents, majority—or 83 percent—of Filipinos said that religion is “very important.” This is a new record-high after surpassing the previous highest record of 82 percent in December 2016.
Based on the latest survey, SWS found that religion is “somewhat important,” for seven percent of Filipinos, “not very important” for the three percent, and “not at all important” for the 19 percent.
Among those who were surveyed, however, only the minority attend religious services weekly, at 45 percent, SWS said. 32 percent attend religious services monthly, 22 percent occasionally, and the remaining never attend at all.
“The opinion that religion is ‘very important’ has been dominant in all SWS surveys since December 2015,” the survey said.
SWS also said Filipinos who “frequently” experience stress are the lowest in number among those who go to church, at 24 percent, compared to those who go to church monthly, at 28 percent; occasionally, at 30 percent; and never, at 45 percent.
Importance of religions rises among Catholics and other Christians
The proportion of those who consider religion as “very important” consistently rose among Catholics, up from only 68 percent in June 2019 to 78 percent in September 2019 and to 84 percent in December 2019.
It also rose among other Christians, up from 68 percent in June 2019 to 78 percent in September and stayed at 78 percent in December 2019. SWS defines other Christians as Christians other than Catholics and members of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The percentage of Filipinos who believed religion is “very important” remained the highest among Muslims, at 94 percent in December 2019.
But it continuously fell among members of the Iglesia ni Cristo, from 82 percent in June 2019 to 79 percent in September 2019 to 69 percent in December 2019.
According to SWS, the proportion of those who attend religious services weekly in the last quarter of 2019 was highest among Muslims at 97 percent, followed by members of Iglesia ni Cristo at 78 percent, other Christians at 62 percent, and Catholics at 39 percent.
In the past 80 surveys they have conducted, SWS found that weekly attendance among Catholics has become fewer starting 2000, at only about 37 percent, as compared to 1991 to 1999, which ranged from 50 to 64 percent.#