Despite Duterte's antics, Filipinos still trust US more than China
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is in China this week for an official visit, and is slated to meet with his counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Dubai - Trust rating for US 'very good'; China 'bad': SWS poll
Firebrand Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apparently trusts China more than America, but Filipinos beg to differ.
The latest survey from Manila's Social Weather Stations (SWS) for the third quarter of 2016 revealed that Filipinos still trust the United States more than China.
And the poll results actually indicate that the trust rating is "very good" for the US and "bad" for China.
According to SWS records - which began in 1994 - the highest trust rating the US received from Filipinos was in the fourth quarter of 2013 at 87 per cent. The lowest, meanwhile, was 46 per cent in the second quarter of 2005.
On the other hand, the 22 per cent rating China received was actually the highest since the third and fourth quarters of 2015.
Its peak happened in the third quarter of 2010 at 43 per cent, while its cellar was during the second quarter of 1995 at 15 per cent.
Ties of the Philippines with the United States and China took surprising and spectacular turns as of late. Both are the Southeast Asian nation's biggest trading partners, but differ in geopolitical interests, most notably in the squabble for rocks and reefs in the South China Sea.
The "bad" trust rating for China may stem from, among others, the Asian powerhouse's methods in trying to secure what it claims its own in the South China Sea. For example, Filipino fishermen who sail into disputed waters have been made to leave by Chinese patrol teams in the area.
Washington is a treaty ally of Manila and is its biggest military and aid supporter, but relations have been strained since Duterte took office, thanks to his profanity-laced tirades against the US Ambassador to the country and even to President Barack Obama himself, who have criticised the Philippine leader's bloody campaign against illegal drugs. The United Nations and European Union have also been at the receiving end of Duterte's shots.
Relations with Beijing, on the other hand, hit its lowest in 2013 when the Philippines - then under Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III - filed a complaint at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over the South China Sea dispute. The court ruled in favour of the Philippines this year.
However, Duterte has apparently been busy repairing ties with Beijing, even going as far as saying that he favours building stronger relations with China and Russia - and even daring the US and UN to withdraw their aid to the Philippines.
Duterte is currently in an official visit to China this week, and he is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Xi Jinping. Though there are no clear indications that the South China Sea will be discussed, Duterte has said that he will not give up The Hague ruling despite his attempts to woo Beijing.
Political leaders and analysts have warned the Philippine president against his rhetoric, especially against Washington, saying that it may yield unwanted results.
Duterte has an army of over 250 businessmen with him in his trip, and is optimistic that agreements will be signed between the two countries. Should these push through and bear fruit - and if the US won't have an answer to it - it is quite possible that these survey results will go opposite ways.