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‘Cautiously optimistic’

  • Davaoeños weigh in on US military base in Mindanao: UM-IPO


ABOUT 4 in 10 Davaoeños,  or a plurality of 39.7%, were ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the presence of a US military base in Mindanao, located in Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City.

The survey further showed that 27.2% of those surveyed were open to the idea, although researchers recognized “an equally substantial neutrality and opposition.” 

When asked about the impact on local security of the US military presence, respondents held a neutral view of 50.5%, which the study further explained that the positive outlook on security improvements with the US military presence “could deter local insurgencies and criminal activities.” 

Additionally, 40.9% of respondents believed that the economic impact of a US military base in the country is somewhat positive, as it may steer potential increases in local employment and business opportunities linked to the bases’ operations. 

Meanwhile, 40.1% of the respondents believed that US military presence greatly strengthened the Philippine sovereignty. 

“A strong alliance with the US provides a counterbalance to regional threats, particularly from other major powers,” the study explained. 

According to UM-IPO, the Davaoeños’ hesitant attitude toward the US base in Mindanao could be attributed to “concerns about undermining the sovereignty and the varying importance of such presence reflecting broader geopolitical considerations, even if the US military presence could enhance regional stability.”

“This ambivalence could be rooted in fears of engaging in conflict with the People’s Republic of China, which has asserted its claims on contested waters in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea,” the study also stated.

The survey garnered 1,200 households across Davao City’s three political districts and yielded 1,176 valid responses conducted from April 4 to 15, aiming to assess public awareness and attitudes towards US military presence, its perceived impact on local security, economy, culture,

Philippine sovereignty, and regional stability.

The study also highlighted that 43.5% of the respondents were feeling somewhat informed about the presence of US military bases and activities in the Philippines.

“The high level of awareness is due to the influence of media coverage and public discourse on the issue,” the statement reads. 

The UM-IPO findings stressed the need for policymakers to consider Davaoeños’ diverse perspectives, to further foster informed and balanced discussions on the role of foreign military bases in local and national contexts.

Image courtesy of the US Embassy in the Philippines


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