Filipinos Express Desire for Military Action in the West Philippine Sea, Survey Shows

The Philippine Navy's BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15) joins the 2nd iteration of the AFP-USINDOPACOM Maritime Cooperative Activity in West Philippine Sea on January 3-4, 2024. The ship sailed together with allied forces and participated in exercises that further advance combined capabilities in maritime domain. Photo from Armed Forces of the Philippines
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According to a recent survey conducted by OCTA Research, an increasing number of Filipinos believe that the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos should address issues in the West Philippine Sea through military action. The survey, called the Fourth Quarter Tugon ng Masa Survey, was conducted from December 10 to 14 and involved 1200 respondents. It revealed that 72 percent of the participants expressed their preference for expanded naval patrols and troop presence in the disputed waters.

This figure represents a significant increase of seven percentage points compared to the previous survey conducted in October. The findings highlight the growing sentiment among Filipinos for a more assertive approach in dealing with the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Despite the majority favoring military action, a significant portion of respondents, 70 percent, still believe in the power of diplomacy and other peaceful methods to resolve the conflicts. This indicates that there is a diversity of opinions among Filipinos regarding the best approach to address the issue.

Additionally, 60 percent of the respondents expressed the need for the modernization of the country’s military capabilities. This suggests that Filipinos recognize the importance of having a strong and well-equipped military to protect their territorial interests.

The survey also revealed that some alternative strategies were proposed by the respondents. These strategies include conducting joint patrols among allied countries, expanding diplomatic efforts within and outside the region, shelving the disputes, and pushing for a joint economic area. These suggestions reflect the desire for a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to resolving the conflicts in the West Philippine Sea.

It is important to note that the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. While the results provide valuable insights into the opinions of Filipinos, they should be interpreted with caution.

The findings of this survey shed light on the evolving perspectives of Filipinos regarding the West Philippine Sea issue. The increase in support for military action suggests a growing frustration with the status quo and a desire for a more proactive stance in protecting the country’s territorial integrity. However, the presence of significant support for diplomacy and peaceful methods indicates that there is still a belief in the power of non-violent approaches to resolve conflicts.

The survey results also emphasize the importance of modernizing the country’s military capabilities. This serves as a reminder that a strong defense is seen as crucial in safeguarding national interests and maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Overall, the survey highlights the complexity of the West Philippine Sea issue and the diverse opinions among Filipinos on how best to address it. It underscores the need for a balanced and nuanced approach that takes into account both military and diplomatic strategies. As the government considers its next steps, it is essential to carefully consider these insights and engage in meaningful dialogue to find a resolution that serves the best interests of the Filipino people.

Source: The Manila Times

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