Taken from June 27 to 30, the poll asked 1,200 adult respondents nationwide on “what’s right and not right for the government to do to resolve the West Philippine Sea conflict.”
KJ Rosales
81% of Pinoys reject government inaction on SCS
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Four out of five Filipinos reject the Duterte administration’s policy of “doing nothing” about China’s intrusions in the West Philippine Sea, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

Taken from June 27 to 30, the poll asked 1,200 adult respondents nationwide on “what’s right and not right for the government to do to resolve the West Philippine Sea conflict.”

SWS said 81 percent of Filipinos think the Duterte administration should not “leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence” in Philippine-claimed territories in the South China Sea.

It also found 80 percent of Filipino adults saying it is right for the government to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines, especially its Navy.

Seventy-four percent said it is right for the government to bring the issue to international organizations, like the United Nations or Association of Southeast Asian Nations, for a diplomatic and peaceful negotiation with Beijing about the claimed territories.

It is alright to have “direct, bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and China” to discuss the resolution of the issue of the claimed territories, according to 73 percent Filipinos surveyed.

For 68 percent of Filipinos, the government should “ask other countries to mediate the issue of the claimed territories.”

Banners calling the Philippines a “province of China” appeared on bridges in different parts of Metro Manila on July 12, the second anniversary of Manila’s victory over Beijing in a landmark arbitration case.

No group claimed responsibility for the banners, which are possible reference to a “joke” by President Duterte that the country can be a province of China.  

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, however, blamed the “enemies” of the government as the ones behind the banners.

The SWS survey also found that most Filipinos (81 percent) are aware of the West Philippine Sea conflict, of them four in 10 claimed to have “only a little” knowledge about it.

Among those who were aware about the West Philippine Sea conflict before the interview, 12 percent had “extensive” knowledge, 40 percent had “adequate” knowledge, 43 percent had “only a little” knowledge, and five percent had “very little” knowledge about the matter.

The SWS said 19 percent of Filipinos learned about the issue only during the interview.

The June survey of SWS also showed Filipinos’ trust in China dropping to its lowest since April 2016.

It found 18 percent of adult Filipinos with “much trust” in China, and 53 percent who have “little trust” in the country, for a “bad” -35 net trust rating.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents could not say whether or not they trust China.

China’s latest net trust was one grade down, from the neutral +7 in March 2018. This was the lowest since the bad -37 in April 2016.

SWS said higher distrust in China was registered among those who know more about the West Philippine Sea conflict.

China’s net trust rating was a bad -38 among those who were aware of the West Philippine Sea conflict before the survey, compared to the poor -22 among those who learned about it only during the interview.

Distrust in China also tended to be higher among those with more knowledge about the West Philippine Sea conflict: net trust in China was at -41 among those with extensive knowledge, and -42 among those with adequate knowledge, compared to -33 among those with only a little knowledge, and -35 among those with very little knowledge.

The net trust rating of China was also at low levels regardless of people’s satisfaction with Duterte, the SWS noted.

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

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