President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping shake hands during the Chinese leader's state visit to the Philippines in November last year. (Presidential Photo)
MANILA -- Malacañang on Monday described a survey which showed that most Filipinos doubted China’s good intentions for Filipinos as “political propaganda”, stressing that critics were using the anti-China card against the Duterte administration.
“The President’s ardent critics and detractors have become desperate in employing its anti-China card against the Duterte administration,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement.
The 4th Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey (SWS) found that 44 percent of Filipinos disagree with the statement, “Most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for the Filipinos.
On the other hand, the survey showed that 27 percent agree with the statement, and 29 percent are undecided about the matter.
Panelo said critics were again sowing hatred against the policies of the Duterte administration with regard to its relations with China after “two unsuccessful attempts” -- the China debt trap scare tactics and the International Criminal Court (ICC) case filed by two former Palace officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Panelo said contrary to the survey results, the 44 percent figure “is not actually a figure representing a majority”.
“While we note that 27 percent of adult Filipino respondents believe that most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines are good for the Filipinos, we also understand that there is a higher percentage, 29 percent, who remain undecided about the matter,” Panelo said.
The Presidential Spokesperson, meanwhile, said he believed Filipinos would have a “change of heart” once ties between the Philippines and China start to show positive economic results.
“We are seeing that there would be a change of hearts and minds from those undecided and even those who disagree -- whom we believe are used to the United States as our long-standing ally - once our enhanced ties with China start to yield positive economic results,” Panelo said.
Moreover, he said Filipinos should also be better informed about the need to expand our relations outside the country’s traditional allies, such as the United States and Japan.
This way, Panelo said, Filipinos would have a “deeper understanding” of why the President has chosen to trust China’s sincerity.
“With such mindset, they will realize that all these policies of the Administration are intended not for any foreign race or nationality but for the sole benefit of the Filipino people,” Panelo said.
The Philippines and China signed over 20 agreements during Xi’s state visit to Manila on Nov. 20 to 21, 2018.
Among these agreements is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on joint exploration in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Relations between the two countries have significantly improved after President Rodrigo R. Duterte decided to temporarily shelve an international arbitration court’s verdict nullifying China’s nine-dash line map, to give way to friendly bilateral talks and more economic ties.