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Pinoys find their voice on China issue

I watched in awe as a convoy of small fishing boats braved the tide – literally and figuratively – to head toward Bajo de Masinloc as part of a civilian mission to the disputed territory.

Our fishermen, their skin sun-baked from years of crossing the waters to put fish on their tables and ours, boarded their slow-moving boats and courageously escorted the “Atin Ito” civil society coalition.

The mission happened last month and as I watched the videos of the convoy that went viral on social media, I realized that now more than ever, Filipinos are voicing out their sentiment on the West Philippine Sea issue. This was in stark contrast to a more quiet stance during the previous administration.

It seems that Filipinos have found their voice again and are using their social media platforms to share their sentiment on the issue. This has been going on for a while now, even before the Atin Ito mission.

These are signs of the times and it’s especially interesting and fitting that this is happening now as we commemorate tomorrow the 126th celebration of the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898.

More than a hundred years since that day in 1898, it’s good to know Filipinos remain vigilant.

It hasn’t always been like this and certainly not during the Duterte administration, largely because of the ex-president’s friendly ties with China.

Indeed, if the latest OCTA Research Survey results are to be believed, three in every four Filipinos or 76 percent perceive China as the “greatest threat” to the Philippines.

The survey, released last week, was conducted from March 11 to 14. While three points lower than the 79 percent posted in December 2023, OCTA said the figures may be considered statistically similar, given that the change was within the margin of error for national percentages.

“Across areas, those who see China as the greatest threat to the Philippines was highest in Metro Manila at 86 percent, followed by the rest of Luzon at 77 percent, the Visayas at 73 percent and Mindanao at 71 percent.” (The STAR, June 7, 2024).

Furthermore, OCTA asked respondents regarding their views on China’s impact on the Philippine economy and 44 percent said China does