3 in 5 Filipinos believe US will defend Philippines — SWS

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
3 in 5 Filipinos believe US will defend Philippines â SWS
In this May 8, 2018 file photo, US Marines assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment and Philippine Marines with 10th Marines Company off load an assault amphibious vehicle during Exercise Balikatan at Naval Education and Training Center in San Antonio, Zambales.
US Marine Corps / Pfc. Krysten I. Gomez

MANILA, Philippines — Three in five Filipinos believe that the United States' defense commitment to the Philippines is strong, according to a Social Weather Stations survey released Wednesday.

The survey found that 61 percent (31 percent strongly believe, 30 percent somewhat believe) believe the Philippines' long-time ally will defend the country, 9 percent said they do not believe to such commitment while 30 percent were undecided.

The poll also showed that 47 percent of those who believe in Washington's commitment to Manila have been previously aware of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the two countries. The remaining 53 percent only learned about the agreement when the survey was conducted.

Among those already aware of the MDT, 80 percent said they believe the US will defend the Philippines if there was an invasion.

Awareness of Mutual Defense Treaty

Metro Manila recorded the highest number of those previously aware of the MDT with 58 percent, followed by balance Luzon with 53 percent, Visayas at 41 percent and Mindanao at 31 percent.

In urban areas, 55 percent were aware of the treaty while 38 percent were aware in rural areas.

Among socioeconomic classes, 51 percent of class ABC were aware of the MDT while class D and class E had 49 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

Awareness of the MDT was highest at 67 percent among elementary graduates above while 53 percent of non-elementary graduates were aware.

Those who were aware of the West Philippine Sea dispute also registered a higher awareness of the MDT with 54 percent as opposed to those who only learned of the dispute during the interview at 14 percent.

"The survey also found that previous awareness about the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty was highest among those with extensive knowledge about the PH-China dispute in the West Philippine Sea (73 percent)," SWS said.

About 67 percent of those previously aware of the maritime dispute also believe that the US will defene the Philippines in case of any invasion.

Belief in Washington's defense commitment was higher at 82 percent among those who had extensive knowledge of the West Philippine Sea issue. China has been claiming the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea, as part of its territorial waters.

The survey was conducted from June 27 to 30 using face-to-face interviews among 1,200 adults nationwide. The poll has sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

"The Social Weather Survey items on people’s opinion about the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty were non-commissioned. They were included on SWS's own initiative and released as a public service," the survey firm said.

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