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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Survey: 91% of Filipinos distrust China

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If the the latest OCTA Research showed 9 in 10 Filipinos do not trust China, this prevalent sentiment stands on solid ground.

First of all, the vast majority of our people resoundingly reject Beijing’s outrageous claim they own practically the whole of the South China Sea based on a mythical 9-dash line and our fisherfolk and Coast Guard are interlopers and transgressors right in our own Exclusive Economic Zone.

Our EEZ has been recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS, which China signed in 1996.

Hence, numerous incidents of intimidation and harassment of our fisherfolk and Coast Guard by the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia in recent years have convinced many Filipinos China intends to continue its gunboat diplomacy in the West Philippine Sea.

Two, Chinese-owned Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGOs are turning out to be havens of various types of online scams and outright criminal activities, including kidnap-for-ransom, murder and torture.

While these POGOs have been permitted to operate in the country because they provide employment to Filipinos and bring additional revenues to government coffers, their social costs far outweigh the benefits.

The result has been growing outrage over abuses committed in POGO establishments and calls from lawmakers and the public for these to be totally shut down.

Distrust of China among Filipinos has been building up over the years.

The results of the OCTA survey from March 11 to 14 this year is almost similar to the 90 percent obtained in a similar survey in December 2023.

According to this survey, 52 percent said they have “no trust at all” and 39 percent who do not have much trust in the Asian nation.

Only eight percent said they have a “fair amount of trust” in China, while none of the respondents said they have a “great deal” of trust.

The upward trend in distrust of China started in February 2022, when it dipped to 61 percent. The 91 percent obtained in the latest survey is the highest since the firm started conducting such polls in 2021.

Across areas, distrust of China was highest among those in Metro Manila at 94 percent, followed by those in the rest of Luzon and the Visayas at 92 percent and Mindanao at 86 percent, respectively.

It was also highest among socio-economic class D at 92 percent, followed by those in class E at 91 percent and class ABC at 82 percent.

Another OCTA survey, meanwhile, showed 76 percent of Filipino adult respondents see China as the greatest threat to the Philippines.

How will the Chinese embassy in Manila respond to the results of this latest survey?

We may have robust trade and investment ties with the Chinese, but obviously the tension in the West Philippine Sea caused by their intimidation and bullying of our Coast Guard and fisherfolk will severely impact on over-all bilateral ties and make more Filipinos distrustful of our neighbor.

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