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Malacañang, LGUs most trusted by Pinoys—poll

Filipinos gives an overwhelming confidence to the Office of the President at 82 percent and Local Government Units at 78 percent based on the latest Philippine Trust Index (PTI) of research group EON. 

EON said the government received trust ratings that almost tripled since 2015, with overall trust levels rising by 30 percentage points.

The survey also revealed that the Executive branch is the most trusted while the Legislative branch is the least trusted in government.

The government, academe, businesses, and nong-government organizations (NGOs) gained increased trust ratings, while trust for the two remaining institutions, media and the Church, stagnated.

The results of the fifth PTI were culled from the responses of 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 and above coming from urban and rural areas in NCR, North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The study was conducted from March to April 2017.

“Amid the wave of societal and institutional distrust observed across the globe, Filipinos run against the tide as their trust and confidence in the country’s key institutions increased, particularly the government,” EON said. EON said PTI is the result of a nationwide survey that looks into Filipinos’ levels and drivers of trust in six key Philippine institutions – government, academe, businesses, NGOs, church and media.

This year’s PTI also probed into Filipinos’ trust in social media compared to other institutions and tuned in to social media conversations to discover whether online discussions truly reflect on-the-ground realities, EON said.

About 93 percent of the respondents, meanwhile, considered government agencies providing social services such as Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Social Security System (SSS) and the Department of Education (DepEd) as trustworthy.

Respondents were more skeptical about agencies that were least familiar to them such as the Department of Finance (DoF), National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

For business institutions, public sentiments point to the rise of extreme trust, compared to two years ago.

This year, healthcare, food and beverage (F&B), pharmaceuticals, energy, and the telecommunications industries were regarded as highly trustworthy by 40 percent, 36 percent, 35 percent and 32 percent of Filipinos, respectively.

On the far end are the mining, alcohol and tobacco, advertising and legal industries. These figures reaffirm that Filipinos respond favorably to brands that they have interacted with as employees or customers.

The most trusted brands are those that come from the manufacturing (36 percent), retail (33 percent), and restaurants and fast food chains (19 percent).

Amid the expansion of internet and social media use among Filipinos, the general public still trusts traditional media channels, television networks (89 percent), radio stations (85 percent) and newspapers (75 percent) – more than social media sites.

Of the 49 percent of Filipinos who have access to social media, 87 percent believed in the truthfulness of social media sites, while only 73 percent believes in traditional media.

Those who trust social media sites tend to believe organic and personal posts by friends and family, and are more doubtful of posts from social media influencers and strangers.

“A salient finding in the research is that repeated interactions are critical in building and driving trust. Be it the government or the business sector, the most trusted institutions and sub-institutions are those that Filipinos come in contact with the most,” EON said.

Specifically for the government, trust hinges on initiatives that impact Filipinos’ lives in tangible ways. Both the PTI results in 2015 and 2017 indicate that Filipinos value the government’s ability to ensure peace and security and help the poor as the foremost driver of trust, followed by the provision of better job opportunities and imprisoning corrupt politicians.

This year, Filipinos are most satisfied with the institution’s efficacy in putting corrupt politicians in jail (47 percent), preparing communities for disasters and calamities (46 percent) and ensuring national security (43 percent). Also, confidence in its ability to improve the economy and support industry development rose by 18 and 17 percentage points, respectively.

For businesses, trust drivers pertain to aspects of employee and customer welfare. The general public are most satisfied with the business sector’s performance in the five most important indicators: provides good salaries and benefits (42 percent), improves the quality of their products and services (41 percent), treats customers well (39 percent), do their business well to increase profit (39 percent), and practice fair labor (38 percent).

When it comes to media, Filipinos place high value on integrity as professionals, competence and objectivity as reporters of facts. Evaluating media’s performance, they are most satisfied with the media’s competence and objectivity when reporting facts, and unanimously least satisfied with the media’s integrity.

Results from Groundswell, EON’s proprietary and award-winning social media listening tool, confirm that issues trending on social media reflect on-the-ground realities about Filipino trust, even though only half of Filipinos are active online and active on social media.

The PTI looked into social media posts that are relevant to the topic of institutional trust and found that the government (11,394 mentions), the media (3,298 mentions) and the church (2,006 mentions) were the most meaningfully discussed out of the six institutions.

“The Philippine Trust Index shows us the promise and opportunities in Filipinos’ rising trust in our institutions today. This means that leaders in these key sectors have greater influence but should harness this to help positively improve the daily lives of people in concrete ways,” according to Junie del Mundo, CEO and Chairman of EON The Stakeholder Relations Group,

Given these realities, del Mundo said that it is imperative for organizations to communicate tangible, relatable truths to engage stakeholders and build trust-based relationships. It is also important to leverage social media in shaping and taking control of the conversations regarding their brands, he said. RIZA LOZADA 

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