MANY Filipinos approve of President Rodrigo Duterte’s position to seek security and defense cooperation with China and Russia, the latest Pulse Asia survey showed.
The same survey showed that eight out of 10 Filipinos believe the Philippines should assert its territorial rights in the South China Sea based on the arbitration ruling that it won in July 2016.
The latest survey, conducted from Dec. 6 to 11 last year among 1,200 respondents, showed that 84 percent of those polled said the Philippines should assert the arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s claims over most of the South China Sea.
The same survey showed that 47 percent of Filipinos agree that the Philippines should strengthen its defense ties with China and Russia.
Some 34 percent said they might agree or disagree, while another 18 percent expressed disapproval. Two percent of the respondents said they didn’t know.
Across geographical areas, however, it was only in Mindanao where Duterte’s position gained majority approval with 57 percent.
In his visit to Beijing in October last year, Duterte said he wanted to pivot to China and Russia and away from the United States, the Philippines’ traditional ally.
“I announce my separation from the United States,” the President told a packed room of business leaders in the Chinese capital after meeting with President Xi Jinping.
Duterte also said he might go to Russian President Vladimir Putin and tell him “there’s three of us against the world.”
The survey likewise showed that many Filipinos viewed the Philippines’ security and defense relations with the United States as “beneficial, with 47 percent expressing approval, 33 percent saying they might agree or disagree and 17 percent saying they disapproved.
A recent Pulse Asia survey revealed within the same survey period that 76 percent of those polled trusted the United States while 61 percent and 58 percent distrusted China and Russia, respectively.
Duterte is set to visit Moscow by April this year and to return to China later this year for the BRICS Summit in Shanghai.