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SWS: PHL control over West PH Sea important to 93% of Pinoys
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SWS: PHL control over West PH Sea important to 93% of Pinoys

July 11 ------ At least 93 percent of Filipino adults say that it is important that the Philippine government regains control over the islands occupied by China in the West Philippine Sea, according to the Second Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey (SWS). The figures are also elevated among respondents who agree that China should not be left alone with its infrastructures, to a strengthened military capability, raise the territorial dispute to international organizations, and alliances with other countries should be pursued.

The SWS says that the proportion has increased in four surveys conducted from June 2018. The June 2019 survey asked, “In your opinion, is it important that the control of the islands that China currently occupies in the West Philippine Sea be given back to the Philippines?” The survey was conducted from June 22 to 26, 2019 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 and above nationwide with sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Survey results showed that 74 percent say regaining control is very important, 19 percent say the action is somewhat important, while 1 percent say it is somewhat not important and another 1 percent not important at all. Four percent, on the other hand, were undecided on the matter. The latest figure of 93 percent who say it is very important or somewhat important that the Philippines regain control of the China-occupied islands in the West Philippine Sea is four points above the 89 percent  (72 percent very important, 17 percent somewhat important) in December 2018.

It was 87 percent (72 percent very important, 15 percent somewhat important) in September 2018, and also 87 percent (69 percent very important, 18 percent somewhat important) in June 2018. For the question, “Is [activity] RIGHT or NOT RIGHT for the Philippine government to do in resolving the conflict between the Philippines and China about the West Philippine Sea?” at least 89 percent said it is not right for the government to leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence in the claimed territories.

The figure has constantly increased compared to past three surveys. In June 2018, the figure was 81 percent then the next survey, conducted in September 2018 the figure is higher at 84 percent and by December 2018 there was a four percent increase to 88 percent. Meanwhile, 92 percent say it is right to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines especially the Navy. The figure is slightly lower from 93 percent in December. In September 2018, the figure was 86 percent while 80 percent in June 2018.

At least 83 percent think is it right for the government to bring the territorial dispute to international organizations, like the United Nations or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, for a diplomatic and peaceful negotiation with China. The figure is up from 77 percent in December 2018, 71 percent in September 2018, and 74 percent in June 2018. In the survey, a new question was asked if Filipinos are in favor of building alliances with other countries to defend the West Philippine Sea. There are 84 percent who say it is right for the government to form alliances.

Source: gmanetwork.com