(Updated) ABOUT 84 percent of Filipinos believed that the Duterte administration should take a firm stand on the Philippines's sovereign rights over the contested West Philippine Sea, pollster Pulse Asia said on Friday.

The results of December 6 to 11 survey of Pulse Asia showed that 84 percent of 1,200 respondents “agreed” that the Philippine government should assert its rights on the disputed island, on the ground of the final ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Only three percent “disagreed” that the government has to assert its sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea, while 12 percent were ambivalent on the matter.

Majority of the respondents who agreed came from Manila (92 percent), and was followed by Mindanao (87 percent), Luzon (83 percent), and Visayas (77 percent).

In terms of socioeconomic classes, 85 percent in Class D believe it was necessary that the country insist its rights over the contested island since it got a favorable ruling from the international court.

Even though the international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to most maritime features of the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine government sought to resolve the territorial row through diplomatic dialogue.

According to Malacañang, President Rodrigo Duterte is upholding the Philippines's rights in the disputed West Philippine Sea in a "different diplomatic style"

"The President is asserting it but in a different diplomatic style," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Abella, citing the statement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, said that Duterte was not giving up the Philippines’s claims in the West Philippine Sea and “it just so happened that the Chinese government has reclaimed three of the islands there and they also have presence in Scarborough.”

Despite the reported installation of China in its man-made islands in the disputed waters, the President said he would only confront the Chinese government if it starts to extract oils and minerals in the island.

Lorenzana was confident that the Duterte administration was at an advantage when Duterte had bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in China, instead of bragging the international court's ruling.

"When the ruling was promulgated on July 12, we get a lot of bragging from countries around that we should forcefully assert the ruling in favor of the Philippines but our government chose instead to a soft-landing. The President chose to have a bilateral talk with the Chinese government, which gave us some advantage," Lorenzana said.

Malacañang has said the Philippines is committed to dealing with China "to find mutually acceptable arrangements.”

The respondents were asked if “the Philippine government should assert its rights on the West Philippine Sea as stipulated in the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.” (SunStar Philippines)