By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
About eight in 10 Filipinos think it is not right that the government is doing nothing about China’s intrusion in claimed territories, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
In the nationwide survey conducted from June 27 to 30, 1,200 respondents were particularly 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?” Five specific activities were presented.
Eighty-one percent of Filipinos repudiate the government’s policy of doing nothing about China’s intrusion in the West Philippine Sea.
Eighty percent said it is right for the government to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines, especially the Navy.
Meanwhile, 74 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 (ASEAN), for a diplomatic and peaceful negotiation with China about the claimed territories.
Seventy-three percent said it is alright to have direct, bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and China to discuss the resolution of the issue of the claimed territories.
About 68 percent said the government should ask other countries to mediate the issue of the claimed territories.
In the same survey period, SWS also found 81 percent of Filipinos aware of the West Philippine Sea conflict even before the survey, while the remaining 19 percent learned about the issue only during the survey.
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 5 percent had very little knowledge about the matter.
The survey also found that 18 percent of Filipinos have much trust, 27 percent undecided, and 53 percent have little trust in China.
This translates to -35 China’s net trust rating (percent much trust minus percent little trust), classified by SWS as “bad.”
It is a 42-point decline, and one grade down, from the neutral +7 in March 2018. This is the lowest net rating since the bad -37 in April 2016.
SWS terminology for net satisfaction ratings are translated as follows: +70 and above as “excellent”: +50 to +69 “very good”: +30 to +49 “good”: +10 to +29 “moderate”: +9 to –9 “neutral”: -10 to –29 “poor”: -30 to –49 “bad”: -50 to –69″:very bad”: and -70 and below “execrable.”
SWS noted that there is higher distrust in China 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 survey.
Likewise, distrust in China 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 at bad levels regardless of people’s satisfaction with President Duterte, SWS said.
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.