MOST Filipinos do not trust China and Russia despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to boost ties with the two countries, according to a Pulse Asia survey released on Tuesday.
The poll, conducted from March 15 to 20, showed that 79 percent of Filipinos trust Russia’s and China’s rival, the United States, while 75 percent trust Japan.
Russia and China are trusted by just 42 percent and 37 percent of Filipinos, respectively. Great Britain got a 53-percent trust rating.
The US and Japan got a distrust rating of only 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively. The two powerful countries, rivals during World War 2, are the foremost allies and trade partners of the Philippines.
Of the countries included in the survey, China got the highest distrust rating at 63 percent, followed by Russia and Great Britain at 56 percent and 44 percent, respectively.
Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has lashed out at the US for its criticisms of his war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives. He was also angered by Washington’s supposed moves to cut aid to Manila and a US senator’s threat to block arms sales to the Philippines.
In lambasting the US, Duterte sought to improve ties with China, the Philippines’ main South China Sea rival.
Prospects of an improved relationship between Manila and Washington, however, are high as Duterte and US President Donald Trump have warmed toward each other.
The tough-talking Filipino leader has also claimed that unlike outgoing US President Barack Obama, Trump has expressed support for his war on drugs.
Meanwhile, Pulse Asia said that among international groups, Filipinos trust the United Nations (82 percent) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) (81 percent) most.
Pulse Asia said the survey had a ± 3 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.
The polling firm said the reported presence of a Chinese survey vessel in Benham Rise was among the hottest issues during the survey period.
The Philippines last week hosted the 30th Asean Summit, wherein it issued a chairman’s statement that removed an indirect reference to the July 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s claims on South China Sea.
Duterte on Monday visited China’s flagship destroyer Changchun that was docked at the Sasa Port in Davao City. He then expressed openness to conduct joint exercises with China in Mindanao.
The President is expected to visit Moscow in May upon the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump invited Duterte to the White House during a phone call on Saturday after the Philippines hosted the 30th Asean Summit.
Trump has confirmed that he would visit the Philippines in November this year for the East Asia Summit.