Filipinos still trust United States despite Duterte’s tirades and foreign policy shift

January 15, 2019 - 6:35 PM
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United States flag
A recent survey on trust ratings revealed that Filipinos favor the United States of America the most. (Creative Commons/File photo)

The United States emerged as the most trusted country among Filipinos for the past two years despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policy shift towards China and his tirades against the longtime defense ally.

Pulse Asia’s study revealed that 84 percent of Filipinos trust the country’s ally, an increase from the previous 79 percent received by the United States on March 2017.

U.S. ranked highest in the same trust rating survey conducted in December 2016.

Despite Duterte’s constant tirades against the Western superpower, Filipinos are still in favor of maintaining a good relationship with them.

China, on the other hand, emerged as the least trusted country with a trust rating of 39 percent.

Last January 11, 2019, Duterte remarked that the Philippines would no longer secure military equipment from the United States in response to his American counterpart’s order which prohibits countries from entering into arms deal with China or Russia.

Duterte also assured China that the Philippines would not participate in the military exercises conducted by the United States in South China Sea when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Manila.

The exercise was Washington’s warning to Beijing against their aggressive actions in the disputed maritime territories.

Duterte also praised China for supposedly assuring him that he wouldn’t be ousted from his position as a president and claimed that the United States was “scared.”

China's President Xi Jinping
China’s President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte toast during a State Banquet at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, November 20, 2018. (Mark Cristino/Pool via Reuters)

“The assurances of [President] Xi Jinping were very encouraging. Eh, they are there. ‘We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs,” he remarked.

“China said ‘We will be there.’ I’m not sure with the Americans because the Americans have lost their will to fight. They only have weaponries, cruise missile, maybe they also have a supersonic thing but the boots on the ground, the ones who will go there to fight, America is scared,” Duterte added.

Why Filipinos still trust Uncle Sam 

The Philippines is the United States’ longtime treaty ally in Southeast Asia since the Second World War.

The two countries agreed under the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 to support one another whenever they would be attacked by an external party.

It also obliged the United States to offer military equipment and other forms of defense units to the Philippines under certain circumstances.

In addition, the treaty enabled the Americans to provide humanitarian assistance to the country whenever the latter would be struck by a natural disaster.

Social Weather Stations noted in a survey that majority of the Filipinos trust the United States will defend the Philippines once an invasion occurs. It suggested that Filipinos still choose the Americans as an ally instead of other parties when it comes to national security.