Survey: Six-in-10 Filipinos believe US would defend them if invaded

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Presidents Trump and Duterte meet in the Philippines. File photograph.

Six out of 10 Filipinos believe that the US would defend the Philippines in case of a foreign invasion, a survey has revealed.

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey was conducted in June, but only made public today (Wednesday, December 12). It showed that 61 per cent of the respondents believed the US would defend the Philippines. Nine per cent did not believe and 30 per cent were undecided.

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The survey was conducted in the run up to the 67th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US. The 1951 accord dictates that both nations would support each other if either were attacked.

The SWS found that only 47 per cent of Filipinos were aware of the treaty while 53 per cent learned about it during the survey interview.

The SWS noted that among those who were aware of the treaty, 80 per cent believed the the US would defend the Philippines. Among those who had not previously heard of the treaty, the figure was 45 per cent.

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Likewise, Filipinos who were aware of the territorial dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea were more likely to believe that the US would defend the Philippines.

On Sunday, we reported that the Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana described the alliance with the US as “the biggest strength of the Philippines”.

He said that although the Philippines lacked the military muscle to face off with Beijing in the South China Sea — it did have friends for backup.

Secretary Lorenzana was speaking at the ‘Pilipinas Conference 2018’ in Makati on Friday. He said: “It’s still the biggest strength of the Philippines, this alliance with the United States.” Lorenzana was answering a question about President Duterte’s repeated assertions that the Philippines could not go to war with China to defend its territory in the disputed waters.

“In his frustration, I think he said that we can’t fight China but he knows we have some options here,” he added.

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