Palace believes Filipinos to eventually appreciate China
Malacañang expressed belief on Thursday that Filipinos would eventually appreciate China.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations showing that Filipinos net trust rating of China fell from "poor" to "bad" or at -33 (21 percent much trust, 54 percent little trust) in September 2019, down by 9 points from -24 in June 2019.
SWS said this was the lowest since the ''bad'' -35 in June 2018.
Panelo said the Palace is not surprised with the survey result, indicating that China remains to be the least trusted country among Filipinos.
"The results of the survey conducted from September 27 to 30 are foreseeable and understandable given the conflicting positions of China and our country relative to the West Philippine Sea," he said in a statement.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including those areas within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
Panelo said the territorial dispute is not the sum total of the Philippine relationship with China.
But he added that the Office of the President would neither court nor force any citizen to change his or her sentiments toward the giant neighbor in the North.
"We will respect their conviction the way we value their allegiance to the Republic and its elements," he said.
"It is in our belief, however, that China, like any other country, will be eventually appreciated by the Filipinos by reason of the President's independent foreign policy which has resulted in significant benefits favorable to the Philippines," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
"Verily, China could even become a role model of the Philippines in reducing, if not totally eradicating, poverty," he added.
In the same survey, SWS said the net trust stayed "excellent" for the United States, at +72, while for Australia and Japan, they remained "good" at +37 and +35, respectively. Celerina Monte/DMS