More Filipinos distrust China after Recto Bank incident – survey

MANILA, Philippines – More Filipinos said they distrusted China in a nationwide public opinion survey conducted after the incident between a Filipino fishing boat and a Chinese ship at Recto Bank off Palawan.

In Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated’s most recent Ulat ng Bayan survey, 74% of respondents regarded China with distrust, more than half of them – 39% – saying China could not be trusted at all.

China’s overall trust rating among Filipinos sank by 13 percentage points from 39% in December 2018 to a 26% in June 2019.

The survey involved 1,200 Filipinos 18 years old and above from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 

The survey was held from June 24 to 30, two weeks since a Chinese trawler hit the Filipino fishing boat F/B GemVer at Recto Bank on the night of June 9. The impact caused the GemVer to founder as the Chinese vessel left the scene and abandoned the 22 Filipino crew, who were later rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.

Pulse Asia said Filipinos’ trust or distrust in other countries were otherwise “essentially unchanged” when compared with figures from December 2018.

A majority of survey respondents said they trusted the following countries: US (89%), Japan (79%), Australia (76%), Canada (71%), Malaysia (63%), Indonesia (56%), UK (56%), and Vietnam (53%).

Meanwhile, only 42% of respondents said they trusted in Russia, and 26% in China.

China and Russia are President Rodrigo Duterte’s “pivot” countries, with whom he sought broader ties after distancing himself from the US, the Philippines’ oldest traditional ally, in pursuit of an “independent foreign policy” early into his term.

Pulse Asia's nationwide survey has a ±2.8% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95% confidence level: ±5.7% for Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. –

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.