Filipinos trust the UN and EU | Inquirer Opinion
Social Climate

Filipinos trust the UN and EU

Last week, I pointed to evidence that Filipinos are maintaining their traditional friendliness toward the United States, as well as distrust of China, despite President Duterte’s preferences (“Filipinos don’t pivot,” Opinion, 5/26/17).

The steadiness of Filipino attitudes toward the outside world applies not only to individual countries but also to international organizations. The Social Weather Survey of March 2017 found 58 percent of adult Filipinos nationwide with much trust, and only 13 percent with little trust, in the United Nations. The resulting +45 net trust rating is in the upper range of Good (+30 to +49).  SWS has surveyed trust in the UN six times, since 1994; all these surveys obtained net trust ratings in the mid-40s.


The March survey also found 40 percent with much trust, 36 percent neutral, and 21 percent with little trust, in the European Union. The resulting +19 net trust rating is Moderate.

The first SWS survey of trust in the EU, in 2012, got a net rating of +8, which is Neutral (between +9 and -9, or too close to zero).  It became +26 in December 2016, and then +19 in March 2017, which are both Moderate (+10 to +29, a definitely positive range).


Thus, President Duterte’s castigation of the UN and the EU for calling his attention to the Philippines’ duty to observe international agreements regarding the value of life and other human rights have merely been brushed off by the Filipino people.  I think Filipinos understand that human rights agreements are normal in international relations, rather than onerous “strings attached.”

But Mindanaoans are relatively subdued.  At the same time, Filipinos’ trust in the UN, as well as in the EU, is noticeably weakest in Mindanao.  Since this is the area with consistently the highest satisfaction with the performance of DU30 and of his administration, in his first three quarters, the Mindanao distinction is what I could call a “Duterte-effect” on Filipino public opinion.

The net trust ratings of the UN in the Visayas (+53) and the National Capital Region (+51) are both Very Good (+50 to +69).  In Balance-Luzon (+48) it is in the upper range of Good.  But in Mindanao (+27) it does not go beyond Moderate.

The net trust rating of the EU is also highest in the Visayas (+30 or Good). Elsewhere, the ratings are: NCR (+24), Balance-Luzon (+16), and Mindanao (+11), which are all Moderate.

Trust in international organizations rises with education.   To me, the level of the respondents’ education is far more relevant than their place of residence.  People with more education are definitely better informed about the character of international organizations and the nature of Philippine relations with them.

Of those surveyed by SWS in March 2017, 16 percent had not even completed elementary school (SE, meaning up to “some elementary”), 29 percent had finished elementary, but not high school (SH, up to “some high school”), 44 percent had finished high school, but not college (SC, up to “some college”), and 11 percent were college graduates (CG). This is a statistically representative national sample of Filipino adults.

The more the education, the higher the grade given to the national administration in foreign relations, as of March 2017: SE +24 (Moderate), SH +47 (Good), SC +52 (Very Good), and CG +52 (Very Good).  The average for all Filipinos is a Good +46.


By level of education, the latest trust in the UN is: SE +28, SH +45, SC +49, and CG +50.  The latest trust in the EU is: SE -7, SH +11, SC +27, and CG +39.  The better informed they are, the more that Filipinos trust the UN and EU.

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TAGS: EU, European Union, Inquirer Opinion, Mahar Mangahas, Social Climate, Social Weather Stations, SWS, UN, United Nations
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