Church most trustworthy, business least trusted in Philippines, survey says means BUSINESS

MANILA -(UPDATED 5:01 p.m.) The church emerged as the most trustworthy Philippine institution, according to a survey that also showed Flipinos' trust in President Benigno Aquino III nearly tripling from a year ago.

In their 2nd Philippine Trust Index (PTI), EON and the Ateneo Graduate School of Business said the church enjoyed the highest trust rating at 68.1 percent among the six institutions rated, followed by the academe at 45.1 percent, and the media at 32.2 percent. The government improved its trust rating at 15 percent in 2012 from 7 percent the previous year. NGOs had a trust rating of 12 percent, and business, 8.9 percent.

For the Church to keep the people's trust, respondents said it has to provide spiritual guidance, be a role model of holiness, and maintain its separation from the state, said EON assistant vice president Malyn B. Molina.

For the academe, the quality of the teachers was the single most important driver of trust at 48.8 percent, followed by improved standards in education at 18.8 percent; lower school fees, 18 percent; school discipline, 12.1 percent; and improved school facilities, 9.5 percent.

Universities and colleges earned the highest trust levels at 46 percent for urban, and 47.2 percent for rural respondents.

In media, TV networks earned the highest trust rating, even as the trustworthiness of online media increased. TV had a trust rating of 44.4 percent, followed by radio, 31.3 percent; and newspapers, 24.1 percent.

Trust in media was largely driven by being truthful at 72.6 percent, followed by adherence to fairness at 21.1 percent.

Corruption-free, keeping promises

Staying corruption-free remained the most important quality that respondents expect from the government and its attached agencies. Other important attributes are being able to help the poor, holding on to campaign promises, and creating jobs.

The survey showed big jumps in trust levels in urban areas for different government agencies, with the Office of the President enjoying a near-threefold increase in its rating from 9.4 percent in 2011 to 21 percent last year.

The President's Cabinet also saw its trust rating improve from 4.4 percent two years ago to 14 percent last year. Likewise, trust in local government units improved to 14.7 percent from 7 percent. Similar improvements were seen in trust levels for the Supreme Court, Senate, regional trial courts and Congress.

“The findings are instructive and will guide us in better understanding the way Filipinos think and establish trust, whether for an individual or an institution. For the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, the PTI highlights trust as an important ingredient in shaping effective leaders in the Philippines,” the school's dean, Albert Buenviaje, said.

Filipinos generally have been more trusting last year, but one in every three respondents neither trust nor distrust the government, business and NGOs.

“The findings show us that establishing trust is a dynamic process that all institutions need to pay close attention to and we have seen 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, EON chairman.

Mining, tobacco least trusted industries

Among businesses, companies engaged in health care enjoyed the highest trust rating at 37.3 percent, followed by information technology, 25.3 percent; agriculture, 25.3 percent; and water and sanitation, 24.7 percent.

On the opposite end, the least trusted firms were those in real estate, which earned a rating of 8.9 percent; alcohol and tobacco, 6.2 percent; and mining, 4.7 percent.

According to the survey, how business treats its internal stakeholders is the most important driver of trust. Providing fair wages and salaries was ranked the highest concern by all respondents, followed by offering quality but fairly priced products, showing concern for society, and paying proper taxes.

Among NGOs, the most trusted were those that advocated health and nutrition at 31.3 percent, youth and children at 27.6 percent, and human rights at 28.8 percent.

Launched in September 2011, the PTI asks respondents to rate the trustworthiness of the Church, government, business, NGOs and the media. The academe was added for this year's survey round.

Data gathering for the latest round was held in the final two months of 2012 and asked 1,575 Filipinos selected from both urban and rural areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The survey was done through face-to-face interviews using a structured questionnaire.