SWS: 47% of adult Filipinos believe govt. 'not doing enough' in West PH Sea dispute

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — Almost half of Filipinos are not satisfied with how the Duterte administration is handling the maritime dispute against economic powerhouse China, according to a recent Social Weather Stations survey.

The survey, conducted in late June and released on Friday, showed 47% of adult Filipinos agreed 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."

Of this number, 18% strongly agreed while 29 somewhat agreed, the SWS said.

Only 24% disagreed with the statement while 29% were undecided.

The data provides a net agreement of +23, considered by SWS as "moderately strong."

The independent pollster said the net agreement was "moderately strong" in all areas, with Metro Manila logging the highest number, followed by Balance Luzon, Mindanao, and the Visayas.

More adult Filipinos - a total of 68% - would also like to see the current administration strengthening its ties with other nations to defend its rights in the disputed waters.

Of that percentage, 33% strongly agreed, 36% somewhat agreed, 22% were undecided while 9% disagreed.

This translated to a net agreement score of "extremely strong," the SWS said.

The poll also found that 69% of the respondents supported the idea of building structures in the West Philippine Sea to further cement the country's claim.

About 45% said it was "very important," 24% considered this as "somewhat important," 21% remain undecided, and 10% said it is not important.

According to the SWS, the most demanded moves are: strengthen military capability, conduct joint military exercises with allies, and implement the terms of the Visiting Forces of Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

President Rodrigo Duterte in May said the arbitral victory against China on the West Philippine Sea is just a piece of paper. A month before that, Duterte said the Philippines has no chance of regaining the areas being claimed by China "without any bloodshed."

Earlier this year, the Department of Foreign Affairs fired several diplomatic protests amid the presence of Chinese vessels in the disputed waters.

The SWS conducted face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults across the Philippines. The sampling error margins are ±3% for national percentages and ±6% for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.