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MANILA, Philippines – Most Filipinos agree that the Philippines needs alliances with other countries to defend the West Philippine Sea, said a Pulse Asia survey that was released on Wednesday, July 12.
In this survey taken from June 19 to 23 among 1,200 respondents, 80% of Filipinos said these relationships are necessary to protect the “international order.”
Only 3% disagree with the formation of alliances, while 17% of respondents are on the fence about the idea.
The survey results were released by Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes, during a forum on the seventh year of the 2016 arbitration ruling against China’s intrusive nine-dash line in the South China Sea.
The forum was attended by ambassadors from different countries, including Australian Ambassador Hae Kyong Yu, Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko, Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran, and US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson.
The ambassadors all gave their reassurance that they stand with the Philippines when it comes to the arbitral tribunal’s decision that gives credibility to the country’s claims over parts of the South China Sea. Others pledged continued cooperation when it comes to maritime patrol and security.
The Philippines concluded its annual Balikatan military exercises with the US in April 2023, a longtime defense partner. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also conducted a trilateral joint exercise with the US and Japan to increase interoperability between the three countries.
Experts in the field of maritime security and international relations also gave their insights into the ruling and its implications today. Speakers included retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio, who is a notable champion during the country’s petition with the arbitral tribunal.
In a related Pulse Asia survey on the Marcos administration’s performance on national issues, its defense of Philippine territory against foreigners received a 63% approval rating, compared to its 61% rating on March 2023. (READ: Inflation top concern of most Filipinos – Pulse Asia)
When asked about what steps the Marcos administration should take to address issues in the contested waters, Filipinos list their three important measures:
- strengthening the military capability of the country (72% of respondents)
- conducting joint maritime patrols and military exercises with allied countries (64%)
- reallocation of resources to the ability to defend the country from external threats (61%)
Despite across-the-board support from different countries on the 2016 arbitration decision, the PCG reported continued harassment from Chinese vessels during a June 30 resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).
China later said that the PCG had entered its territorial waters without permission. – Rappler.com