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Social Climate

Data on EJKs and Chinese ‘friendship’

Whereas public opinion toward the administration is favorable in some matters, such as the satisfaction with the performance of Rodrigo Duterte as President, at the same time it is unfavorable in other matters, such as the pervasiveness of extrajudicial killings or EJKs, and the official posture that China is a friend.

It is a mistake to accept only the positive or only the negative sides of public opinion, because both sides were collected from the same survey respondents. The two sides coexist: Filipinos like some things, and the same Filipinos also dislike other things.

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Data on EJKs. The Filipino people see the claims of the police about EJKs as dubious. Nearly half cannot decide whether the police are telling the truth about killing in self-defense. One-fourth think the police are lying. Only one-fourth think the police are telling the truth.

Opinions at the end of 2018 were the same as in 2017. Two-thirds believe that the police themselves are involved in the illegal drug trade. Two-thirds believe that the police are the ones doing the EJKs. Over half believe that the police plant evidence against the suspects they arrest (“Fourth Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey: 28% of Filipinos do not believe police claims of ‘nanlaban,’ 28% believe, and 44% are undecided,” www.sws.org.ph, 2/27/19.)

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Twelve percent of those surveyed said they knew an EJK victim personally—an estimated 8 million cases of personal knowledge. Some 5.8 percent (3.7 million cases) said the victim was an acquaintance; 3.2 percent (2.0 million) said the victim was a relative; for 2.7 percent (1.7 million), it was a neighbor; for 1.9 percent (1.2 million), it was a best friend; for 0.5 percent (300,000), it was a workmate.

With direct awareness so widespread, it is no wonder that three of every four Filipinos are worried that they might become EJK victims themselves (“Fourth Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey: 78% of Pinoys worry about becoming victims of ‘extrajudicial killings’ or EJK,” www.sws.org.ph, 3/1/19).

Data about trust in China. Despite the pivot of the administration’s foreign policy toward China, the Filipino people have maintained their traditional relationships with foreign countries. The United States has maintained a Very Good trust rating from the 1990s up to the present (net +60). In the eyes of the Filipino people, the United States has always been their best foreign friend.

Trust ratings of Japan (now +34) and Australia (now +33) are steady at Good. From time to time, SWS also surveys trust in other countries. Traditional allies, like Canada and France, always have trust ratings of Moderate or better.

On the other hand, trust in China has always been weak—it was at net -6 last March, termed Neutral. From September 2016 up to March 2019, the trust rating of China was negative in 10 out of 12 surveys. (See “First Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey: Net trust stays ‘Very good’ for the United States; ‘Good’ for Japan and Australia; ‘Neutral’ for China,” www.sws.org.ph, 4/16/19.)

The March 2019 SWS survey found a Very Strong +32 net agreement that the suit filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) by former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and former ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against Chinese President Xi Jinping, for wrongful destruction of the livelihood of Filipino fishermen, shows the world that China should leave the islands it occupied in the West Philippine Sea. (See “First Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey: Most Pinoys agree that the suit against Xi Jinping in the ICC tells the world that China should leave the West PH Sea,” www.sws.org.ph, 4/17/19.)

However loud the administration’s claim that China is a friend, the Filipino people don’t believe it.

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TAGS: Chinese friendship, EJK, Public opinion
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