Mindanao gives U.S. its lowest trust rating, Russia its highest

MANILA, Philippines – While Filipinos still trust the United States most, the southern Philippine island group of Mindanao has a less trusting attitude toward Uncle Sam, a recent survey showed.

It was in Mindanao that the US got its lowest rating, and Russia its highest, in a survey released by polling firm Pulse Asia on Monday, January 14.

The US received a trust rating of 74% in Mindanao, while its rival Russia got 54%.

In contrast, across the Philippines, the US remained the most trusted country at 84%, while Russia, at 45%, was the least trusted after China.

Mindanao is the center of a decades-long Muslim rebellion exploited by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. The US is helping the Philippines fight terror in Mindanao, and rebuilding the terrorist-ravaged city of Marawi – even as its colonial atrocities in Mindanao continue to hound it. 

Mindanao is also the turf of President Rodrigo Duterte, who detests the Philippines' former colonizer for abuses such as the Bud Dajo massacre of Moros in Sulu by American soldiers in 1906.

The first President from Mindanao has also hit the US for extending aid with supposed preconditions such as taming his bloody anti-drug campaign – unlike China and Russia which supposedly help with no strings attached. (On the ground, however, Duterte's men have continued close links with the US despite Duterte's new friends.)

For this survey, Pulse Asia asked respondents the following question: "Generally speaking, how much trust should the Philippines extend to (country/organization)?" 

The survey was conducted among 1,800 adult respondents from December 14 to 21, 2018. It covered selected countries – the US, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China, as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

The survey has an error margin of ± 2.3% at 95% confidence level for national results. For specific geographic areas, the survey has the following error margins at 95% confidence level: ± 6.5% for Metro Manila, ± 3.5% for the rest of Luzon, ± 5.2% for the Visayas, and ± 4.7% for Mindanao. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.