A China Coast Guard vessel blasts a Philippine Coast Guard vessel with a water cannon in the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea. PCG PHOTO

More Filipinos would take the American position than side with China over the West Philippine Sea dispute, a recent survey has found.

The first-quarter 2024 Oculum Research and Analytics survey of 3,000 respondents found 43% siding with the United States and only 3% with China.

However, a huge proportion, 40%, said the Philippines should side with neither country.

The Oculum survey also found that only 17% of respondents trusted China, the lowest among the 16 countries mentioned in the survey. Moreover, China garnered the highest level of distrust among respondents at 38%. Following China was Russia with 26% trust and 19% distrust.

The United States is the Filipinos’ most trusted foreign country, obtaining a trust rating of 75% of respondents. It was followed by Canada (69%), Australia (65%) and Japan (59%).

Joseph Mercado, Oculum Research and Analytics chief statistician, said the high level of trust in the US was possibly a reflection of its global influence and perception as a key ally of the Philippines.

“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,” he said.

The Oculum 2024 first-quarter national survey involved in-person interviews with a total of 3,000 respondents aged 18 years old and above, said Oculum research chief Racidon Bernarte.

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 from Mindanao.