4 out of 5 Pinoys want gov’t to act on China’s militarization in disputed waters: survey

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2018 12:07 AM | Updated as of Jul 15 2018 03:23 AM

Four out of 5 Filipinos think it’s wrong that the government is “leaving China alone with its infrastructures and military presence” in its own territories, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed on Saturday.

The SWS asked the respondents’ opinion on “what’s right and not right for the government to do to resolve the West Philippine Sea conflict.”

Out of 1,200 respondents polled from June 27 to 30, 81% of adult Filipinos said it is not right for the government “to leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence in the claimed territories.”

The survey results come days after banners with the words "Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China" were tied onto pedestrian overpasses in full view of the public all over Metro Manila on Thursday.

In May, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government has taken "diplomatic actions" against China over its activities in the West Philippine Sea, the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

Another poll conducted by Pulse Asia found that 73 percent of Filipinos believe that President Rodrigo Duterte should assert Manila's rights to the West Philippine Sea, the country's EEZ within the contested waters.

Meanwhile, 80 percent said it is right for the government to strengthen the country's military force, especially the Philippine Navy.

The survey also found that 74 percent of Filipinos said it is right for the administration to raise the issue internationally for diplomatic negotiation with China.

The government should ask other countries to mediate the issue of the claimed territories, according to 68 percent of Filipinos.

On the other hand, 73 percent said it is right to have direct, bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and China to discuss the issue.

The Philippines and China in May agreed to "properly manage" disputes in the West Philippine Sea by engaging in dialogue and negotiations to address issues in the disputed waters.

The survey also found that 81 percent of Filipinos are aware of the West Philippine Sea conflict. Among them, 43 percent have only a little knowledge about it,  5 percent have very little, 40 percent have adequate, and 12 percent have extensive knowledge about the issue.

A total of 81 percent knew about the sea dispute even before the survey, while the remaining 19 percent learned about the issue only during the survey interview.

China's trust rating declines to -35

China's trust rating among Filipinos declined by 42 points to -35 this quarter from +7 in March 2018.

The survey found 53 percent of Filipinos have little trust in China, while 18 percent have much trust, and 27 percent were undecided.

This is the lowest since the "bad" -37 in April 2016, SWS said.

Meanwhile, China's net trust rating was -38 among those who knew more about the sea dispute, compared to the -22 among those who learned about it only during the survey.

The poll also found that the net trusting of China was "bad" regardless of people's satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte.

"It was highest among those who were dissatisfied with the President, at -42, followed by those who were undecided, at -39, and among those who were satisfied with him, at -32," SWS said.

The poll was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide and has a sampling margin of error of +/- three percent for national percentages, and +/- six percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.