About 47 percent of adult Filipinos are saying that the government is not doing enough to assert the country’s rights in the West Philippine Sea, a survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) and sponsored by Stratbase Albert Del Rosario (ADR) Institute showed.
The June 23-26, 2021 survey with 1,200 respondents found 47 percent of adult Filipinos agreeing–consisting of 18 percent (strongly agree and 29 percent who somewhat agree) and 24 percent disagreeing (consisting of 15 percent somewhat disagree and 9 percent strongly disagree)–with the statement, “The Philippine government is not doing enough to assert its rights to the country’s territories in the West Philippine Sea as stipulated in the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.”
Twenty-nine percent of the respondents were undecided on the issue.
SWS said these translate to a net agreement score (percentage of those who agree minus percentage of those who disagree) of +23, classified by SWS as “moderately strong.”
The net agreement was also “moderately strong” in all areas–Metro Manila (+25), Balance Luzon (+24), and Mindanao (+24), and Visayas (+17).
Based on the survey results, the most demanded government moves are strengthening Philippine military capability, conducting joint military exercises with allies, and implementing the terms of the Visiting Forces of Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Among the five pre-listed proposals on what the Philippine government should do about the West Philippine Sea, 77 percent chose to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines, especially the Navy and Coast Guard, 65 percent chose to conduct joint maritime patrols and military exercises with allied countries, and 57 percent chose fully implementing the terms of the VFA and EDCA.
Following the top three responses are finalizing the ASEAN Code of Conduct or an agreement on how countries would act within the South China Sea (39 percent) and bringing the issue to the United Nations General Assembly (38 percent).
In all areas, majorities chose to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines, especially the Navy and Coast Guard, as the most effective measure–81 percent in Mindanao, 78 percent in Metro Manila, 76 percent in Balance Luzon, and 75 percent in the Visayas.