More Filipinos want the Philippines to align itself with the United States than China in the ongoing dispute in the West Philippine Sea, the latest Oculum Research and Analytics survey revealed.

In a national survey of 3,000 respondents, 43% said the Philippines should align itself with the United States, said Dr. Racidon P. Bernarte, Oculum Research Head and Managing Director of the Asia-Pacific Consortium of Researchers and Educators Inc. (APCoRE). Only 3% of respondents said they’d prefer the Philippines siding with China.

Survey respondents were asked: In your opinion, which country should the Philippines align itself with amid the South China Sea dispute? The choices were: People’s Republic of China, United States of America, None of these countries and Not Sure.

“The survey results regarding the preferred alignment of the Philippines in the context of the South China Sea dispute offer a revealing glimpse into public opinion on this significant international issue,” Dr. Joseph Mercado, Oculum Research and Analytics Chief Statistician said.

The same survey also revealed that only 17% of respondents trust China, the lowest among 16 countries mentioned in the survey. Moreover, China garnered the highest level of distrust among surveyed respondents at 38%. Following China is Russia with 26% Trust and 19% Distrust. Survey respondents were asked: In your opinion, how trustworthy are the following countries?

“The low level of trust in China and a relatively high level of distrust could be attributed to geopolitical tensions, economic competition, territorial disputes, or concerns over political and human rights issues,” Dr. Joseph Mercado, Oculum Research and Analytics Chief Statistician said.

The United States is the most trusted foreign country of Filipinos garnering the trust of 75% of respondents. The US is followed by Canada (69%), Australia (65%) and Japan (59%).

Mercado said the high level of trust in the US is possibly a reflection of its global influence and perception as a key ally of the Philippines.

The 2024 first-quarter national survey was conducted from February 21 to 29, 2024 by Oculum Research and Analytics in partnership with APCoRE, a professional organization of academics and researchers, and Areopagus Communications Inc.

A total of 3,000 respondents, aged 18 years old and above, were interviewed face-to-face. The respondents were distributed as follows: 335 from the National Capital Region, 645 from Northern and Central Luzon, 690 from Southern Luzon, 615 from the Visayas and 715 Mindanao, ensuring representation. With a margin of error of ± 2 percentage points and a high confidence level of 97%, Oculum’s survey presents a reliable and in-depth perspective of the current state of public opinion in the Philippines.