MANILA, Philippines – An opinion poll shows most Filipinos want their government to assert the country's rights in the disputed South China Sea after an arbitration tribunal invalidated China's vast territorial claims and ruled the Philippines can fish and exploit resources in the contested waters.
The Dec. 6-11 survey by independent pollster Pulse Asia made public Friday shows 84 percent of 1,200 adult Filipinos polled nationwide agreed the government should uphold its rights in the disputed waters. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
President Rodrigo Duterte has rapidly improved once-frosty relations with China and declined to forcefully demand its compliance with the July 12 arbitration ruling, which Beijing has refused to recognize. That prompted China to allow Filipinos to resume fishing at a disputed shoal.