Manila: Most Filipinos trust the United States, while they have little confidence in China, an independent survey revealed.

According to a poll conducted by the Philippines-based survey firm Social Weather Stations (SWS) last month, 76 per cent of the Filipinos say they have “much trust in the United States with only 11 per cent saying they have little trust or have doubts about the country.

The US bested seven other countries in the SWS trust gauge that includes Australia (47 per cent), Japan (34 per cent), Norway (16 per cent), The Netherlands (14 per cent), Taiwan (3 per cent) and China (-33 per cent).

The survey conducted from September 24 to 27 sampled responses of 1,200 adults from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

A colony of the United States until 1935 when the Commonwealth Act was enacted, Filipinos have much trust in the US and hold everything from the US in high regard.

The same survey also showed waning regard for China, its giant littoral neighbour.

China’s trust rating among Filipinos in June was at -24 per cent.

The survey was conducted ahead of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Beijing.

The Philippine leader started his visit to China on Tuesday after an official trip to Brunei where he met with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Monday.

Duterte is set to sign a number of official documents with Chinese President Xi Jinping and meet with Premier Li Keqiang.

The Philippine leader is apparently bent on treading a foreign policy different from that of his predecessors. He professed from the start of his administration that he is a socialist and that he wanted to wean the Philippines away from the US which he said had made Manila dependent on it.

Duterte said he wants to craft an independent policy with regards to defence and foreign relations.

During Duterte’s visit to Beijing, he is expected to bring with him some 500 Filipino businessmen whom he expect to seal business deals with Chinese firms.

Relations between Beijing and Manila had been mired in uncertainty over the past several years as China asserted its territorial jurisdiction over the Spratlys and other islands relatively distant from its mainland mass.

In the middle of this year, the International Arbitral Court ruled on a case bought forward by the Philippines against China over a number of islands. However, Beijing refused to recognise the ruling that mainly favoured Manila.

Earlier, Duterte said that most of the drugs in the Philippines came from China and that Beijing needs to do something about this or its citizens risks becoming victims of the country’s violent campaign against illicit substances.