Pinoys' trust in China falls from 'poor' to 'bad' in September: SWS poll

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2019 08:49 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2019 07:06 AM

MANILA (UPDATE)—Filipinos' trust in China has fallen to a new low, according to a recent Social Weather Stations poll.

The September 27 to 30 survey of 1,800 adults showed that 54 percent of Filipinos had little trust in China, while 21 percent said they had much trust in China. 

This resulted in "poor" net trust of -33, down by 9 points from the "bad" -24 in June 2019.

September's net trust rating is the lowest since June 2018's "bad" -35 rating.

According to SWS, net trust in China has been positive in only 9 out of 51 surveys since the first survey on the East Asian country in August 1994.

The highest net trust rating for China was a "moderate" +17 in June 2010, while the lowest was a "bad" -46 in September 2015.

The rating comes amid warming ties between the Philippine and Chinese governments despite unresolved disputes over the resource-rich South China Sea. 

In June, a Chinese ship rammed and sank a Filipino fishing boat near Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea, the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. The Chinese vessel abandoned 22 Filipino fishermen, who were later rescued by a Vietnamese vessel. 

In August, Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected the Philippines' July 2016 arbitral victory before a United Nations-backed tribunal, which invalidated Beijing's sweeping nine-dash line claim over nearly all of the disputed waters. This after President Rodrigo Duterte raised the ruling for the first time with the Chinese leader during their meeting in Beijing. 

As relations between Manila and Beijing improved, there has been an influx of Chinese nationals in the Philippines, including workers in Philippine offshore gaming operators. China has also offered various loans to the Philippines, including infrastructure funding. 

PINOYS TRUST US MORE

The same survey found that 80 percent of Filipinos had much trust in the US, the Philippines' treaty ally, with 8 percent having little trust, resulting in a net trust rating of +72.

The US has maintained its "excellent" rating from +73 in June 2019.

SWS said net trust in the US has been positive since the first survey in December 1994, with results ranging from a "moderate" +18 in May 2005 to an "excellent" +82 in December 2013.

Meanwhile, the survey also showed that Australia and Japan maintained their "very good" net trust rating at +37 and +35, respectively.

Net trust rating for Singapore stayed "moderate" at +26, while net trust for Vietnam fell to a "neutral" zero from a "moderate" +13 in December 2017.

The survey asked respondents about how much they trust select countries: China, US, Japan, Australia, Singapore and Vietnam.

The September survey had sampling error margins of ±2.3 percent for national percentages, ±4 percent each for Balance Luzon and Mindanao, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila and the Visayas.

'NOT SURPRISED'

The Palace, in a statement released Thursday, said it was not surprised that China was polled as the least trusted country among Filipinos.

The survey was "foreseeable" and "understandable" because of the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

"It is in our belief, however, that China, like any other country, will be eventually appreciated by the Filipinos by reason of the President's independent foreign policy which has resulted in significant benefits favorable to the Philippines," he said.

He added, "China could even become a role model of the Philippines in reducing, if not totally eradicating, poverty."