SWS: 87% Pinoys want to regain control of West Philippine Sea



ABOUT 87 percent of Filipinos wanted the Philippines to regain control of the disputed West Philippine Sea, including the islands being occupied by China, according to June 27 to 30 poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Of the 87 percent, 69 percent said it was “very important” while the remaining 18 percent believed it was “somewhat important” that the Philippines asserts territorial rights over the contested waters.

Only one percent said it was “somewhat not important” and the other one percent thought it was “not at all important.”

The survey revealed that 65 percent knew earlier reports that the China Coast Guard’s personnel were forcefully taking the catch of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

Sixty-nine percent alluded that China is afraid to face any court because it is aware that justice is “not on [its] side.” Only eight percent disagreed, while 22 percent expressed indecision on the issue.

This comes amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s refusal to invoke the Philippines’ arbitral win against China over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands ruled in favor of the Philippines, noting that China’s nine-dash line in the disputed waters is “invalid.”

The President, however, has maintained a “soft-leaning” approach to resolve the maritime row with China.

About 93 percent of those who are aware about the West Philippines Sea conflict emphasized the importance of regaining control of China-occupied islands, the SWS noted.

Duterte yielded a net satisfaction score of “good” +44 among those who stressed that it was “not right” for him to leave China alone with its intensified military build-up in its claimed territories in the disputed waters.

The SWS found that 43 percent considered as “treachery” the Duterte government’s nonchalant attitude to China’s extensive claims to the resource-rich West Philippines Sea.

Only 29 percent were convinced that it was a form of treachery, while 28 percent were ambivalent on the matter.

On July 12, Malacañang assured the Filipino people that the Philippines will continue defending its historic victory in the arbitral case it lodged against China over the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Around 1,200 adult respondents were interviewed, using sampling error margins of ±3 percentage points for national percentages, and ±6 percentage points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.