MANILA - Sixty-one percent of Filipinos believe that the United States will defend the Philippines should its traditional ally be invaded by another country, a survey published Wednesday showed.
Thirty percent of the 1,200 adult respondents were undecided while 9 percent did not believe that Washington would come to the aid of Manila during an invasion, the survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations showed.
"Belief in the US defense commitment was higher among those with extensive knowledge about the PH-China dispute in the West Philippine Sea," SWS said.
Some 47 percent said they were aware of the nearly 7-decade mutual defense agreement between the two countries, while 53 percent said they only heard about the deal during the survey.
Luzon had the highest awareness (70 percent) of the mutual defense treaty, followed by Metro Manila (64 percent), Visayas (54 percent), and Mindanao (48 percent), the study showed.
Awareness about the mutual defense treaty was higher in urban areas (55 percent) compared to rural areas (38 percent), SWS said.
The survey was conducted from June 27 to 30, 2018, ahead of the 67th anniversary of the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the United States.
Despite overlapping claims in the South China Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte pivoted towards neighboring world powers China and Russia in 2016 after former US President Barack Obama criticized the government's bloody war on drugs.
Defense Secretary and US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim earlier said ties have been renewed between the traditional allies after 3 centuries-old bells taken as war booties were returned to the Philippines Tuesday.