China still least trusted by Pinoys
MANILA (2nd UPDATE) -- Nearly 4 in 10 Filipinos want the government to seek sanctions against the crew of a Chinese vessel that hit and sank a Philippine boat in waters where Manila has exclusive rights over resources, according to an opinion poll released Friday.
The suspected Chinese militia vessel left 22 Filipino fishermen adrift for hours last June 9 after the sinking of their boat near Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
Of 1,200 adults surveyed by Pulse Asia from June 24 to 30, 36 percent said they would like the government to ask China to sanction its nationals who abandoned the Filipino crew of F/B GEM-VER who were rescued by a Vietnamese vessel.
This is the most preferred option in Metro Manila at 46 percent; the rest of Luzon, 45 percent; and the poorest classes D and E, 34 and 36 percent, respectively, noted Pulse Asia.
Meanwhile, 23 percent believe that Beijing, not just the Chinese crew, should pay for the damage on GEM-VIR, said the pollster.
This the most preferred option in the Visayas at 36 percent, then Mindanao at 35 percent, it added.
"There is this perspective on the part of Filipinos that there should be immediate payment or retribution due to the victimized fishermen," Pulse Asia president Ronnie Holmes told ANC's Rundown.
"It's not also surprising that some Filipinos favored the payment of retribution specifically because these are our compatriots who have been victimized by aggression on the part of the Chinese vessel," he said.
Nineteen percent of the respondents, meanwhile, said the Chinese crew should be tried in a Philippine court, an idea earlier floated by Vice President Leni Robredo.
For a tenth of the respondents, Manila and Beijing should agree on a set of rulesfor similar incidents in the West Philippine Sea.
Eight percent want the Philippines to elevate the issue to the United Nations General Assembly, while 2 percent said they do not know enough to give an opinion on the matter.
"It indicates that the Philippines really need to assert its position on this matter and protect the interest of our fishermen," Holmes said."It indicates that the Philippines really need to assert its position on this matter and protect the interest of our fishermen," Holmes said.
Manila said it has lodged a diplomatic protest against China over the sinking, which it is also investigating jointly with the world's number 2 economy.
It might take long for the Philippines to file a case against the Chinese vessel since the crew members are not yet identified.
DISTRUST FOR CHINA
The Pulse Asia survey also found that China is still the least trusted country by Filipinos.
Seventy-four percent of respondents believe the Philippines cannot trust China, while 57 percent feel the same towards its ally, Russia. The survey showed 35 percent of Filipinos said China cannot be trusted "too much" and 39 percent who said it does not deserve trust "at all."
Those who said that Beijing cannot be trusted at all is 19 percentage points higher compared to the 20 percent who believed so in December 2018, noted Pulse Asia.
President Rodrigo Duterte has rattled the Philippines' century-old bond with the US while courting stronger ties with Beijing and Moscow.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents, the highest in the survey, said the Philippines should trust the US.
"Small to huge majorities" of respondents also said the following countries should be trusted: Japan, 79 percent; Australia, 76 percent; Malaysia, 63 percent; the United Kingdom, 56 percent; Indonesia, 56 percent; and Vietnam, 53 percent.
Vietnam also have overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea, over which Beijing says its has "historic rights."
The UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 junked China's sweeping claims to the waterway, where $3 trillion in ship-borne trade pass through every year. Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling.
The Pulse Asia survey has a ± 2.8 percent error margin.
Palace 'notes' survey results
Malacañang, in a statement, said it "notes" the results of the survey.
"We are not surprised—neither are we bothered—by the outcome, considering that it has only been three years since the Duterte Administration has chartered an independent foreign policy course for the Philippines," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo added that information dissemination is needed to "appreciate the current government’s foreign diplomacy approach, that is 'friends to all, and enemies to none' which has reaped economic benefits to the country."