4 out of 10 Filipinos don't believe China's 'good' intentions: SWS

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 05 2019 08:23 PM

A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President Rodrigo Duterte and China President Xi Jinping attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. Thomas Peter, Reuters/File

MANILA- Four out of 10 Filipinos don't believe that China's intentions for the Philippines are good for its people, results of a Social Weather Stations survey (SWS) released Friday showed.

The survey, conducted in December 2018, found that 44 percent of Filipino adults disagreed with the statement: “Most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for the Filipinos.”
 
Only 27 percent agreed with the statement while 29 percent were undecided, equivalent to a net agreement score of -17, "moderately weak," SWS said.

Of the 44 percent who disagreed, 22 percent "strongly disagree" while the other half "somewhat disagree."

Recently, concerns have been raised about Manila securing loans from Beijing due to the 2 nations' long-standing dispute in the South China Sea.

The Philippines and China have long figured in a maritime dispute as Beijing refuses to recognize a UN-backed arbitral tribunal's ruling that invalidated its sweeping 9-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

Reports of Chinese personnel harassing Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea, the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, have also made headlines several times.

However, ties between the 2 nations have considerably improved under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte who has chosen to forge closer ties with Asia's largest economy, setting aside Manila's maritime dispute with Beijing.

Philippine authorities have repeatedly raised concerns over China's activities in the disputed waters, particularly its rampant militarization efforts in recent years, which Beijing has denied.

STRONGER DISAGREEMENT

SWS also noted that the number of Filipinos who strongly disagreed that what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for Filipinos has increased over the past 25 years.

The figure has increased by 17 points to 22 percent in 2018 from the 5 percent who strongly disagreed in 1993, SWS said.

The polling firm added that the December 2018 survey also measured public trust in China as a country.

The survey found a negative net agreement that most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for Filipinos among those who distrust China.

SWS said there was a net agreement score of a neutral +8 (39 percent agree, 31 percent disagree) among those with much trust in China.

Meanwhile, there is a net agreement score of a moderately weak -12 (23 percent agree, 35 percent disagree) among those who were undecided about their trust in China, and the very weak -40 (19 percent agree, 60 percent disagree) among those with little trust in China.

Conducted from Dec. 16 to 19, 2018, the SWS survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide and has a sampling error margin of ±2.6 percent for national percentages.