Social Climate

Steady foreign friendships

/ 05:10 AM February 03, 2018

The 2018 SWS Survey Review, presented on Jan. 29 at the Asian Institute of Management, showed that, among very many other things, the high satisfaction ratings of President Duterte and his administration have been irrelevant to the assessment of Filipinos of which foreign countries and institutions they do trust, and which ones they do not.

As always, the country most trusted by Filipinos is the United States.  As of last September, 70 percent trusted it, and only 10 percent distrusted it, for a net trust rating of +60, which SWS calls Very Good (from +50 to +69).


The United States is always included in SWS surveys on trust in foreign countries. No other country is more trusted, when contemporaneously rated. A missing balance from 100 percent corresponds to those who neither trust nor distrust a country.

(Incidentally, the Gallup Organization recently reported that “approval of US leadership” fell over 2016-17 in all Southeast and East Asian countries, including the Philippines; see “Gallup World Poll: Rating World Leaders 2018.” Note that approval of a country’s leader is different from trust in a country.)

The second most-trusted country is Japan, which as of June (i.e., the latest available survey) was trusted by 61 percent and distrusted by only 15 percent, for a net trust rating of +46, which is Good (from +30 to +49).

The third most-trusted country is Australia, which as of September was trusted by 53 percent and distrusted by 16 percent, for a net trust rating of +37, which is also Good.

Last March, SWS found 58 percent trust and 13 percent distrust in the United Nations, for a Good net trust rating of +45.  That survey also found 40 percent trust and 21 percent distrust in the European Union (EU), for a net trust rating of +19, which is Moderate (+10 to +29).

In June, SWS found that Filipinos have similar trust in the United Kingdom, France and Germany, with percentages of trust and distrust at 46 and 19 in the United Kingdom, 43 and 20 in France, and 42 and 20 in Germany. These imply net trust ratings of +28, +23, and +23 (correctly rounded) respectively, which are all Moderate.

The SWS June survey found that 38 percent of Filipinos closely followed news of Mr. Duterte’s rejection of financial aid from the EU.  Its December survey found that 46 percent closely followed news of the President’s curses and threats against EU-country ambassadors.

On the other hand, the percentages of Filipino trust and distrust in Russia were 34 and 28, as of June, for a net trust rating of only +6.  SWS calls this Neutral, since a single-digit net score is statistically neither positive nor negative.

In September, those trusting China were only 27 percent, whereas those distrusting it were 39 percent, for a net trust rating of -13, which SWS calls Poor (from -10 to -29).  That survey also found 48 percent closely following news about the continued patrols of the Chinese navy and coast guard in the West Philippine Sea, despite the international court decision that it is part of the Philippines.


The country least trusted by Filipinos is North Korea, with trust and distrust percentages at 20 and 48 as of September, or a Poor net -28, worse than China. China and North Korea are less trusted now than a year ago, when their ratings were Neutral (see “Filipinos don’t pivot,” Opinion, 5/27/17).

Foreign policy is one subject matter where surveys show that Filipino opinions do not follow those of the President.

Contact [email protected] The 2018 SWS Survey Review is at:

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TAGS: AIM, Duterte, survey review, SWS
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