Filipinos’ distrust on China shows they understand WPS issue now – Navy spokesman

PCG water cannon.jpg
A China Coast Guard vessel fires a water cannon during a resupply mission of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Ayungin Shoal on Nov. 10, 2023. (Courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)

The apparent lack of trust by majority of Filipinos towards China only proves that they are already aware of what is happening in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), a Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson claimed on Sunday, June 9.

Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, PN spokesperson for WPS, said an OCTA Research survey showing that 91 percent of adult Filipinos distrusted China shows that they understand the threat that the Asian superpower poses in the region.

“Finally, our countrymen already understand the existential threat that [China] poses in our existence as a republic,” Trinidad said in a radio interview over dzBB.

The Navy officer said he understands that there are still some “pro-China” individuals who criticize the government’s handling of the WPS conflict. 

“It is their freedom of speech to be able to express, to be able to say what they want,” Trinidad acknowledged.

However, Trinidad hopes they would soon understand why the government has to call out, resist, and publicize China’s illegal actions in the WPS.

“It will reach a point that when national interest is at stake, it should be a no-brainer. National interest should be above all. The Navy is very happy that our fellow Filipinos understand the issue right now,” Trinidad said.

The government has implemented a transparency initiative to “expose” what it describes as illegal, coercive, aggressive and deceptive (ICAD) activities of China in the WPS.

According to critics, the government’s strategy contributed to the decline in the relations between the two countries.

But Trinidad said that the government is only protecting the country’s territory for the benefit of future generations of Filipinos. 

Last June 7, the OCTA Research released the results of its March 2024 First Quarter “Tugon ng Masa” (TNM) survey which revealed that 91 percent of adult Filipinos expressed distrust towards China, a trend that has been steadily increasing since February 2022, with only eight percent holding the opposite view.

Read related story: OCTA survey reveals most Filipinos distrust China, shows sustained upward trend since 2022

It said that China’s trust rating ranged from 5 and 15 percent across major areas, with Mindanao having the highest percentage.

It also found out that 76 percent of the respondents, or three out of four Filipinos, see China as the "greatest threat to the Philippines."

The March 2024 First Quarter TNM Survey polled 1,200 respondents nationwide from March 11 to 14.