Pulse Asia: 7 in 10 Filipinos want Duterte to assert rights in West Philippine Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Pulse Asia: 7 in 10 Filipinos want Duterte to assert rights in West Philippine Sea
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, reviews the troops with Philippine Air Force chief LT.Gen Galileo Kintanar Jr. during the wreath-laying ceremony at the 71st Founding Anniversary of the Air Force at Villamor Air Base in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines Tuesday, July 3, 2018.
AP / Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — A significant majority of Filipinos believe that the Duterte administration should assert the country's right and protect its sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea, according to a Pulse Asia survey released Thursday.

A survey commissioned by independent think tank Stratbase ADR Institute showed that 73 percent of Filipinos want the Philippine government to assert its sovereignty claims as stipulated in the 2016 decision of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Only 7 percent of the respondents disagreed when asked whether they want the Duterte administration to assert the country's territorial sovereignty while 17 percent were undecided.

The survey was released on the second anniversary of the arbitral ruling, which invalidated China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

The Pulse Asia survey also showed that a plurality of Filipinos or 36 percent share the opinion that the country should protest the China's continuous militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

About 22 percent said that the Philippines should strengthen military alliance with other countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia while 21 percent said the government should continue its current action of befriending China to avoid conflict.

Only 16 percent said the Duterte administration should strengthen the military's capability to protect the country's territories.

The Duterte administration has held that its focus on developing diplomatic and economic relations with China does not mean it has given up its claims in the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims and calls the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte claimed in May that he would have wanted to take a "stronger, possibly more violent" stand, but "in my own estimation, it would probably be a great loss to the nation and probably end up losing a war." 

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte's approach "forged friendship which has obtained benefits for our people, boosted investment and trade for our economy, reduced the threat of conflict, and opened the door to confidence-building talks between ASEAN and China."

Pinoys still trust US most

Meanwhile, the United States, Japan and Australia are the top three countries that Filipinos trust the most with an overall score of 74 percent, 45 percent and 32 percent, respectively, in the latest poll.

China only ranked fourth in the survey with 17 percent, followed by South Korea (14 percent), Russia (10 percent), the United Kingdom (9 percent), Vietnam (5 percent) and India (2 percent).

On the other hand, 33 percent said that they trust the ASEAN, which only a point higher than the United Nations's 32-percent trust rating.

Among regional associations, Filipinos appear to trust the European Union the least as it scored only seven percent.

The Philippines and the United States have been allies for 70 years since the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty. The two countries also have an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement, which allows the presence of American troops in the country.

Japan and Australia, which are also US allies, have also been consistent on its position in conducting freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea so as to counter China's dominance in the region.

Despite the Philippines' victory at the tribunal ruling two years ago, the Duterte administration had set aside the ruling to seek stronger ties with China.

vuukle comment






As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 19, 2023 - 12:27pm

Social media users, including former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, are reporting seeing banners saying "Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China" hanging from overpasses in parts of Metro Manila.

The sightings coincide with the second anniversary of an arbitral tribunal ruling that China's sweeping nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea has no legal basis. The Philippines has opted to play down the ruling and focus on nurturing better political and economic relations with China.

It is unclear who put up the banners, which are a possible reference to a "joke" that President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese-Filipino business leaders in February. 

"He (Xi) is a man of honor. They can even make us 'Philippines, province of China," we will even avail of services for free," Duterte said in apparent jest. "If China were a woman, I'd woo her."

The Palace said the remark was meant to impress the audience, who were Filipino citizens of Chinese descent.

July 19, 2023 - 12:27pm

A week since the seventh anniversary of the historic ruling at The Hague,  activist fisherfolk group urges the government to protest the presence of more than 50 Chinese Coast Guard vessels and one "monster ship" in the Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) before the international court.

It says that the swarming of the ships violates the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. 

“While the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) recognizes the freedom of navigation and innocent passage in open seas, a swarm of ships that creates tensions could be deemed illegal," Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) says.

"We urge the Marcos administration to protest and ultimately expel the overwhelming presence of Chinese Coast Guard vessels in our territorial waters. Their presence is a blatant display of military might to assert Beijing’s unjust claim in the West Philippine Sea. President Marcos could raise this recent swarming incident to the United Nations and reassert our sovereign rights upheld by the UNCLOS and other rules of international law," it adds.

July 7, 2023 - 10:51am

A week before the seventh anniversary of the arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, fishers are seeking a stronger assertion of national sovereignty.

In a release, activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) urges the Marcos administration to “have a stronger action to assert our sovereign rights to China using the arbitral award.”

It stressed that it has been seven years since the Philippines won in the Permanent Court of Arbitration but the Chinese military facilities on seven artificial islands on the Spratlys island remain. It also cited more than 200 Chinese vessels and boats are still regularly patrolling in our territory.

PAMALAKAYA chair Fernando Hicap says President Marcos Jr. should be alarmed over the long-term impact of these actions in the fish production in the country and demanded swift action to protect Filipino fishermen from aggression. 

July 14, 2022 - 7:53am

Days after the anniversary of the historic 2016 Hague ruling, China insists the 2016 Hague ruling is "illegal, null and void."

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin says: "The so-called award of the South China Sea arbitration seriously violates international law including the UNCLOS."

The ruling invalidates China's nine-dash claims over the South China Sea. However, Wang says: "China neither accepts nor recognizes it and will never accept any claim or action based on the award." — Kaycee Valmonte

July 12, 2022 - 9:41am

The United States reaffirms its commitment to the Philippines on the sixth anniversary of the Hague tribunal ruling.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken says it also reaffirms “that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”

Blinken tthen calls on the People’s Republic of China to “abide by its obligations under international law and cease its provocative behavior.”

“We will continue to work with allies and partners, as well as regional institutions like ASEAN, to protect and preserve the rules-based order.” — Kristine Joy Patag with Kaycee Valmonte

July 12, 2022 - 9:16am

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo says July 12, 2016 is remembered as “the day the that affirmed to the community of nations that the rule of law prevails, and that stability, peace and progress can only be attained on a rules-based legal order on the oceans, as it should be everywhere else.”

He adds the award “not only sets reason and right in the South China Sea, but is an inspiration for how matters should be considered—through reason and right—by states facing similarly challenging circumstances.”

Manalo stresses that the findings are conclusive and indisputable, and the award is final.

“We firmly reject attempts to undermine it; nay, even erase it from law, history, and our collective memories. At the same time we welcome the support of a growing list of countries for the Award.” — Kristine Joy Patag

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with