Lorenzana doubts result of new survey on West Philippine Sea
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday raised doubts on the result of the latest survey on the West Philippine Sea showing that the majority of Filipinos want the government to regain control of the islands occupied by China.
The Social Weather Stations (SWS) released Thursday its latest poll indicating that 93 percent of Filipinos want the Philippine government to assert its territorial rights over the West Philippine Sea.
“That survey is suspect. I’d like to know who did it, how the questionnaires were framed and who and how many were the respondents,” he told reporters in a text message.
“Surveys can be manipulated to support a pre-ordained conclusion,” he added.
The survey was conducted from June 22 to 26, involving 1,200 respondents nationwide.
China has turned seven islands and reefs in the Kalayaan Island Group into military bases in recent years. These are in Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef), Calderon (Cuarteron), Burgos (Gaven), Mabini (Johnson), Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), and McKennan (Hughes).
There was also an increase in the clamor for the government to take action on the Chinese occupation in the West Philippine Sea, SWS said.
About 92 percent of respondents also believed that the Philippines should strengthen its military capabilities, especially the Philippine Navy.
Lorenzana maintained that they remain committed to protecting the country’s interests in the West Philippine Sea.
“We are not giving an inch of our territory nor sovereign rights over our EEZ [exclusive economic zone],” he said. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.