9 of 10 Pinoys: Retake China-held islands

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There is overwhelming support among Filipinos for getting back Philippine islands that had been seized by China in the West Philippine Sea, according to survey results released on Saturday.

The June 27-30 survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed 87 percent, or about nine of 10 adult Filipinos, believe it was important to regain control of the Chinese-held islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Among those who believed it was important, 69 percent said it was “very important” and 18 percent said it was “somewhat important.” Two percent deemed it to be unimportant (1 percent somewhat not important, 1 percent not at all important) while 11 percent were undecided.

A majority of the respondents (69 percent) also believed that “China is afraid to face any court because they know that they are not on the side of justice.”

Only 8 percent disagreed with the statement, while 22 percent were undecided.

This yielded a net agreement score (percent agree minus percent disagree) of +61, classified by SWS as “very strong.”

Ruling defied

Aerial photographs obtained by the Inquirer in February showed that China was almost finished transforming seven reefs claimed by the Philippines in the Spratly archipelago into island fortresses, in defiance of a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration junking Beijing’s expansive claims over nearly the entire South China Sea, including areas within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The artificial islands were built on Kagitingan Reef, known internationally as Fiery Cross Reef, and Calderon (Cuarteron), Burgos (Gaven), Mabini (Johnson South), Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi) and McKennan (Hughes) reefs. Panganiban lies within the Philippines’ EEZ.

The survey showed that the belief in the importance of reclaiming Philippine areas in the disputed waters was directly related to the respondents’ level of knowledge of the maritime conflict and related issues.

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/168542/9-10-pinoys-retake-china-held-islands#ixzz5LyUwweaq

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