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25 Feb 2014

Survey Findings on Views about the Philippine Hostage IncidentReleased by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK

25 Feb 2014

A telephone survey was conducted from 16 to 19 February 2014 by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong to gauge public views about the sanctions imposed on the Philippines and their overall opinion on the Philippine Hostage Incident.  762 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 44.7%.  The sampling error is + or –3.56% at a confidence level of 95%. 

Major findings are summarized as follows: 

In the current survey, the respondents were asked about their views concerning sanctions imposed on the Philippines.  Concerning their opinion about the effectiveness of removing visa-free access from Philippine officials and diplomats in pushing the Philippines to apologize and give out money for the incident, while only 16.4% of the 762 respondents said this measure effective, one-half (50.5%) believed otherwise.  30.3% answered ‘in-between’.  In order to urge the Philippine government to apologize and give out money, while over two-thirds (70.8%) of the respondents agreed with the step of imposing economic sanctions, such as suspending the procurement of Philippine products by the HKSAR Government, only 10.0% opposed this idea and 17.6% indicated ‘in-between’.  Similarly, 67.8% favored the idea of cancelling the visa-free arrangement for Philippine visitors and 12.9% said otherwise.  17.3% reported ‘in-between’.  Concerning the proposal of stopping the importation of new domestic helpers from the Philippines, half (52.0%) of the respondents supported, 24.9% rejected, and 21.2% neither favored nor disfavored.   Further analyses reveal that more educated (with tertiary education), upper and upper-middle class respondents, and those with at least HK$20,000 monthly income were significantly less supportive to the latter proposal.  This might reflect the fact that these groups of respondents are more likely to hire foreign domestic helpers.  Nevertheless and overall, half of the respondents supported the sanction. 

The respondents were also asked if they agreed with the view that the Philippine government is not held responsible for the hostage incident as it was a crime committed by an individual gunner.  Three-quarters (74.8%) objected this view and less than one-tenth (8.6%) agreed.  14.0% said ‘in-between’.  Concerning the view that “although it was an incident caused by a gunner, the Philippine government should apologize for the botched rescue attempt”, nine-tenth (89.1%) agreed and 3.3% disagreed.  5.8% answered ‘in-between’. 

Regarding whom to apologize, half (49.7%) of the respondents said it would not be acceptable to have the Mayor of Manila, instead of the President of the Philippines, apologized for the incident.  A quarter (26.6%) thought it acceptable and 20.1% said ‘in-between’.  Furthermore, if only money is given out instead of an apology, over two-fifths (46.4%) found it unacceptable and 22.1% accepted.  23.2% reported ‘in-between’. 

Finally, a quarter (24.6%) of the 762 respondents were satisfied with the performance of the HKSAR Government in urging the Philippines to apologize and give out money and one-third (34.1%) felt the opposite.  Two-fifths (39.3%) reported ‘in-between’.