Trust in China 'neutral' as U.S. keeps 'very good' rating

MANILA, Philippines – Defying the preferences of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Filipinos' trust in China stayed "neutral" as the United States maintained its "very good" rating in a recent survey by polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The survey, released by the SWS on Tuesday, April 16, showed the US maintaining its "very good" net trust rating of +60 as of March this year. The SWS said this is similar to its +60 trust rating in December 2018.

China got a "neutral" trust rating of -6 in March. This was up by one point from its -7 in December 2018.

The SWS conducted its survey from March 28 to 31 through face-to-face interviews with 1,440 adults. The survey items on countries were non-commissioned, which means these were included "on SWS's own initiative and released as a public service."

The margin of error was ±2.6% for national percentages.

In the same SWS survey, Japan maintained its "good" +34 net trust rating. Australia's rating also stayed "good" at +33.

The survey comes as the Duterte administration draws flak for accepting controversial Chinese loans and grants while the Asian giant continues its incursions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). 

President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking friendlier ties with China in exchange for loans and grants, as he distances himself from the US because he detests its supposed interference in his anti-drug campaign.

On the ground, however, Duterte's men continue close engagements with Washington, while Beijing remains unpopular among Filipinos.

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at