Press Release
July 17, 2023

Zubiri Reveals 75% of Filipinos Want US-PH Military Partnership in West PH Sea

Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri has revealed that a rider question in the most recent Pulse Asia survey shows that Filipinos are overwhelmingly in support of partnering with the United States in order to resolve territorial disputes with China over the West Philippine Sea.

Respondents came out 75 percent in favor and 14 percent not in favor, to the question: "Are you in favor or not in favor of strengthening the military ties between the United States and the Philippines amid security tensions in the West Philippine Sea?"

The rest of the respondents marked themselves as not having enough knowledge to form an opinion (2 percent) or "can't say" (8 percent).

Amid criticisms regarding the participation of the US military in the West Philippine Sea, which has translated to trainings and regular flights within Philippine territory, this data proves that majority of Filipinos are in fact welcome to receiving support from the US military.

"Napakalaki ng disparity," said Zubiri of the data, during an interview with DZBB on Sunday. "Ibig pong sabihin, nagagalit na po ang ating mga kababayan . . . sawang-sawa na po sila sa pagpasok ng Tsina dito sa ating bansa, lalo na sa mga incursions sa Reed Bank na napalakapit na po sa El Nido, sa Coron."

This survey comes out just as the Philippines celebrates the seventh year of the landmark 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, or The Hague, which invalidated China's claims to historic rights within the "nine-dash line," and effectively recognized the rights of the Philippines to the West Philippine Sea as falling within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Despite this ruling, China has continued to forcefully enter the Philippines' EEZ.

The Senate is expected to soon approve a resolution urging the administration to bring the issue of the West Philippine Sea back to the United Nations General Assembly, amid continued aggression from China.

"Ako po ay sumang-ayon sa plano ni Senator Risa Hontiveros na magpasa ng isang resolution asking the government to file a protest at the Hague, sa arbitration ruling of the West Philippine Sea," Zubiri said.

"We should not stop at just the arbitral ruling, but we should also follow up with the Hague on what is actually going on, on the ground, with China," he added. "Halos araw-araw ang mga illegal incursions ng China dito sa ating teritoryo."

"?We should present to the UN the repeated incursions and violations of China against the Hague arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea. We should show the video and photographic evidence of their creeping invasion towards our country and our neighbors, with their continuous reclamation of territory within our EEZ and areas that are considered international waters, hampering the freedom of navigation."

He expects that upon the first week of the Senate's resumption of session, the Hontiveros resolution will be calendared for plenary.

"By Tuesday, pag-debatihan po natin 'yan. I'm sure we can get the majority to vote in favor of this resolution."

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