8 in 10 Pinoys back filing of case vs China

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – About eight in 10 Filipinos have expressed support for the government’s filing of a case against China at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) to settle a maritime dispute, a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

The SWS poll, conducted from March 16 to 20, found 78 percent of Filipino adults backing the government’s filing of a case against China, while only eight percent were against it. 

The survey also showed 87 percent of respondents said they were confident that the Philippines would win its case, while 12 percent said otherwise. 

The SWS noted that confidence in the Philippines winning the arbitration case was especially high among those aware of the dispute over the West Philippine Sea, and those with extensive knowledge of it.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults 18 years old and above nationwide, 300 each in Metro Manila, balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

On Tuesday, the UN-backed tribunal based in The Hague awarded the Philippines sovereign rights over Panganiban or Mischief Reef, Ayungin or Second Thomas Shoal and Recto or Reed Bank off Palawan.  

The court did not award sovereign rights to the Philippines over Panatag or Scarborough Shoal, which lies just over 120 nautical miles from Zambales. 

The court said Panatag Shoal was a traditional fishing ground for several countries and neither China nor the Philippines had the right to prevent anyone from fishing in the shoal. 

China had refused to participate in the arbitration. 

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila said in a statement yesterday the tribunal’s decision is “unacceptable” to them. 

“The tribunal’s decisions have no legally binding force on (Taiwan),” it added.

Duterte gov’t urged to maximize court ruling

Youth groups yesterday urged the Duterte government to take necessary measures to maximize the ruling of the PCA.

Kristine Cabardo, chair of League of Filipino Students-Northern Mindanao Region, said the government must assert its authority and stop China’s illegal reclamation. The government must find ways to maximize the decision as basis for further bilateral talks with China.

“We must continue the struggle for our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We must not take for granted the fact that only the people’s assertion will truly kick off China in the Panatag Shoal,” she said. – With Janvic Mateo, Mayen Jaymalin

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