For Pinoys, Church is 'most trusted'; business, 'least trusted'

Posted at 02/27/2013 6:31 PM | Updated as of 02/28/2013 3:58 PM

Gov't no longer least trusted; rating in 2012 improves; trust rating of Malacanang triples

MANILA - Filipinos trust religious institutions more than the academe, media, government and business, according to the 2nd Philippine Trust Index.

The trust index, a study on trust among different stakeholder groups in the Philippines conducted by EON Stakeholder Relations and Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB), showed the public had the most trust in the Church (68.1%). Church refers to religious institutions in general and not any one particular religion.

The academe (45.1%) was the second most trusted institution, followed by the media (32.2).

More Filipinos appeared to trust the government, as its trust ranking improved to 15% in 2012. In 2011, government was the least trusted institution with a rating of 7%.

Various government agencies also saw significant improvements in trust ratings. Trust in the Office of the President tripled to 21% in 2012 from 9.4% in 2011. Trust in the Cabinet also jumped to 14% in 2012 from 4.4% a year ago.

However, Filipinos still don't put much trust in non-government organizations and business sector. NGOs and business were the least trusted institutions with rating of 12% and 8.9%, respectively.

"The findings show us that establishing trust is a dynamic process that all institutions need to pay close attention to – and we have seen in that in 2012 trust levels increased for the government, media and the church. This highlights the important role of communication and engagement among all organizations, whether they are building their brand, enhancing shareholder value, or rebuilding their reputation,” said Junie del Mundo, chairman and CEO of EON, in a statement.

AGSB Dean Albert Buenviaje said the findings "will guide us in better understanding the way Filipinos think and establish trust, whether for an individual or an institution."

The survey, conducted in 2012, covered 1,575 respondents both from the informed and general public nationwide.

'More informed, less trusting'

According to the survey, the "informed public" or people who had more education and had significant media consumption were generally less trusting of institutions than the general public.

A gap in the trust levels between the informed public and the general public can be seen in their trust for the Church (56.3% informed, 68.1% general public); Academe (39.5% informed, 45.1% general public); and Media, (32.3% general, 24.8% informed).

The survey described the "informed public" as 600 respondents from both urban and rural areas, at least 25 years old, had spent more than 2 years in college, represented economic classes A to C, and had significant media consumption.

On the other hand, the general public was described as 1,200 urban and rural respondents, 18 years old and above and represented economic classes A to E, with majority not going beyond 2nd year college and with less media consumption.

By region, respondents in the National Capital Region had the lowest trust level, while those from Northern Luzon had the highest trust levels for the institutions.

TV is 'most trusted' among media

Among the media groups, television networks remained the most trusted with a rating of 44.44%, followed by radio stations with 31.3%. Newspapers were ranked third with 24.1% and online new sites fourth with 20.6%.

There was also an increase in trust in online platforms such as social networking sites and blogs.

In the business sector, healthcare companies were the most trusted with a ranking of 37.3%%, followed by information technology (25.3%), agriculture (25.3%), and water and sanitation (24.7%).

The least trusted companies were those in real estate (8.9%); alcohol and tobacco sectors (6.2%); and mining (4.7%).

Trust drivers

The survey also revealed some insights into what the public thinks institutions have to do to retain their trust.

For the Church, respondents expect it to provide spiritual guidance, be a model of holiness and remain separated from the state. Informed respondents in the urban areas believed that the Church's separation from state was the most important driver of trust.

For the government, staying corruption-free was the most important quality expected. Respondents also expect the government to help the poor, fulfill campaign promises and create jobs.

The most important driver of trust for the academe is the quality of the teachers, while for the NGOs, it is their ability to help those in need.

For business, it is important for respondents to see how companies provide fair wages and salaries.

Media institutions should above all be truthful, according to the survey. Media should also be fair and balanced in reporting.

Who are the trusted spokespersons?

Government leaders and NGO volunteers are the most trusted spokespersons, according to the survey. The media is the most trusted source of government news.

However, the heads of the church, media and schools are seen as "less credible" to speak about their own institutions.