SWS: 4 of 5 Filipinos want gov’t action on China militarization in West PH Sea
Four out of five Filipinos sees it is not right for the government to “leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence in claimed territories,” a pollster said Saturday.
The Social Weather Stations asked, “Is [activity] RIGHT or NOT RIGHT for the Philippine government to do in resolving the conflict between the Philippines and China about the West Philippine Sea?”
The survey was conducted from June 27 to 30 among 1,200 respondents through face-to-face interviews from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The results were released days after the second anniversary of the arbitration ruling of the Philippines’ case against China in the South China Sea. It also comes days after banners with “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China,” mysteriously appeared in pedestrian overpasses in some parts of Metro Manila.
Eighty-one percent were discontent and wanted the government to act on China’s militarization in the West Philippine Sea.
Also, 80 percent of respondents believed it was right for the government “to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines, especially the Navy.”
A total of 74 percent said it was right for the government to bring up the issue to international organizations like the United Nations or Association of Southeast Nations for a diplomatic and peaceful negotiation with China.
But on the other hand, 73 percent believed that the Philippines should have direct, bilateral negotiations with China to discuss the resolution of the issue of the claimed territories.
Meanwhile, 68 percent of the respondents said the government should ask other countries to mediate the issue.
The survey also revealed that 81 percent were aware of the West Philippine Sea conflict even before the survey, while the rest only knew about it during the interview.
China’s trust ratings drop
In the same survey, China’s trust rating among Filipinos dropped by 42 points to -35 from +7 in March 2018.
“This is a 42-point decline, and one grade down, from the neutral +7 in March 2018. This is the lowest since the bad -37 in April 2016,” SWS said.
The distrust in China also tended to be higher among those with more knowledge about West Philippine Sea conflict. It scored -38 among those who knew more about the sea conflict, compared to the -22 of those who learned about it at the time of the survey.
The polling body added that among the participants, it showed that 12 percent of participants have extensive knowledge about the issue, 40 percent had adequate knowledge, 43 percent had a little knowledge, and five percent with little knowledge on the issue.
The poll also showed that the net trusting of China was “bad” regardless of people’s satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It was highest among those who were dissatisfied with the President, at -42, followed by those who were undecided, at -39, and among those who were satisfied with him, at -32,” SWS said. With a report from Faye Orellana, INQUIRER.net/je
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