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More Filipinos favor US rather than China—survey

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Nearly half of Filipinos want the Philippines to align with the United States rather than China in the ongoing dispute in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), according to the latest Oculum Research and Analytics survey.

The 2024 first-quarter national survey was conducted from February 21 to 29, 2024 by Oculum Research and Analytics in partnership with APCoRE, a professional organization of academics and researchers, and Areopagus Communications Inc.

A total of 3,000 respondents, aged 18 years old and above, were interviewed face-to-face. The respondents were distributed as follows: 335 from the National Capital Region, 645 from Northern and Central Luzon, 690 from Southern Luzon, 615 from the Visayas and 715 Mindanao, ensuring representation.

Oculum Managing Director Dr. Racidon Bernate released the survey results during a forum organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Oculum Research and Analytics.

In a national survey of 3,000 respondents, 43% said the Philippines should align itself with the US, the country’s closest and trusted ally, while only 3% of respondents said they would prefer the Philippines siding with China.

Survey respondents were asked: In your opinion, which country should the Philippines align itself with amid the South China Sea dispute? The choices were: People’s Republic of China, United States of America, None of these countries and Not Sure.

“The survey results regarding the preferred alignment of the Philippines in the context of the South China Sea dispute offer a revealing glimpse into public opinion on this significant international issue,” Dr. Joseph Mercado, Oculum Research and Analytics Chief Statistician said.

The same survey also revealed that only 17% of respondents trust China, the lowest among 16 countries mentioned in the survey.

Moreover, China garnered the highest level of distrust among surveyed respondents at 38%. Following China is Russia with 26% Trust and 19% Distrust.

It also said that the United States is the most trusted foreign country for Filipinos, garnering the trust of 75% of respondents. The US is followed by Canada (69%), Australia (65%) and Japan (59%).

Mercado said the high level of trust in the US is possibly a reflection of its global influence and perception as a key ally of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy said China will not allow anyone to sow chaos in the disputed South China Sea, saying it is closely monitoring the joint maritime exercises between Filipino and American troops.

This came as the Philippines and the United States started their annual war games in the West Philippine Sea, among other venues, with many countries participating as observers. China said relevant moves are being followed.

China “will resolutely respond with effective measures,” the Chinese embassy in Manila said, in a statement.

According to the embassy, China is opposing supposed “external interference, muscle flexing, provocations and harassment” in the South China Sea as well as the piecing together of exclusive circles or bloc confrontation.

“We will never allow anyone to sow chaos the South China Sea,” it added.

On April 22, Filipino and American troops started the 39th iteration of the annual Balikatan Exercises.

At least 16,000 joint troops will hold drills, with 14 countries joining as observers, including France which deployed its vessel.

During the war games, participating troops will execute a range of complex missions across domains, including maritime security, sensing and targeting, air and missile defense, dynamic missile strikes, cyber defense, and information operations, the embassy said.

The Philippine Navy, the US Navy, and the French Navy will also conduct a Multilateral Maritime Exercise in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and the West Philippine Sea that is contested by China to be its own.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “More Filipinos trust US over China as superpower ally—survey.”


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