July 27, 2019
Most Filipinos trust the United States and Japan, while a bigger number have shown distrust of Washington’s rivals, China and Russia, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey released on Friday.
The survey, conducted from June 24 to 30 among 1,200 Filipino adults nationwide, showed that 89 percent of Filipinos trust the US, while 79 percent trust Japan.
A majority of Filipinos also expressed trust for Australia (76 percent), Canada (71 percent), Malaysia (63 percent), the United Kingdom (56 percent), Indonesia (56 percent) and Vietnam (53 percent).
“More particularly, the prevailing opinion among Filipinos is that the Philippines should extend a fair amount of trust in Australia (63 percent), Canada (59 percent), Japan (59 percent), the US (56 percent) and Malaysia (51 percent),” Pulse Asia said.
“Meanwhile, big pluralities are of the view that the Philippines should show a fair amount of trust toward the United Kingdom (47 percent), Indonesia (47 percent) and Vietnam (44 percent),” it added.
The nationwide poll, conducted through face-to-face interviews, had a ± 2.8 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.
On the other hand, 74 percent of respondents believe that the Philippines should not trust China at all, while 57 percent said Russia should not be trusted at all.
Of those who distrust Russia, 40 percent said the Philippines should not show too much trust in the emerging world power and 18 percent said it should not be trusted at all.
More Filipinos believe China should not be trusted at all, with 39 percent of them saying this, and 35 percent saying it should not be trusted too much.
Distrust for China jumped by 14 percentage points from 60 percent in December, while distrust for Russia increased by three percentage points from 54 percent.
Only 42 percent of Filipinos trust Russia, and a smaller 26 percent said they trust China.
The US and Japan are the foremost allies of the Philippines.
The two powerful countries, once rivals during World War 2, are now major allies.
Results of the survey contradicted the stand of President Rodrigo Duterte on the US, China and Russia.
Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has lashed out at the US for its criticisms to his war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives.
He was also angered by Washington’s supposed moves to cut aid to Manila and a US senator’s threat to block arms sale to the Philippines.
Early this year, Duterte said the Philippines would no longer buy weapons from the US, which threatened to impose sanctions on countries procuring arms from Russia.
But he softened his stance last month, saying he would reconsider purchasing arms in light of a change in US policy.
The President, however, clarified he would not abandon agreements made with Russia and China, since the two countries gave arms “practically [for] free” when the Philippines needed them.
Duterte has established closer ties with the two US rivals as part of his foreign-policy pivot.
In particular, he has sought to enhance the country’s ties with China despite an unresolved dispute over the South China Sea, where Beijing has stepped up militarization and island-building activities, encroaching into the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Duterte has also refused to flaunt the Philippines’ victory against China in a United Nations-backed arbitration court in 2016 that invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims to the contested waters.
But the President defended his approach, saying Manila could not yet stand up to Beijing, whose military and economy were far superior.
Recently, Duterte said he would invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US and ask the country’s long-time ally to send its Seventh Fleet to the disputed sea for a confrontation with Chinese forces.
The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone and calls them the West Philippine Sea.
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