Church, TV, Web most trusted by Pinoys

Natashya Gutierrez

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos trust the Church, TV and online sites, according to a recent survey.

But while most Filipinos trust the Church, to them, maintaining the separation of church and state is most important in keeping this trust.

Those who cited this separation of institutions as an important attribute also expressed desire for the Church not to meddle with the state’s affairs, to leave politics to the politicians, and to leave the RH bill alone.

Filipinos also want the Church to propagate faith and be the role model of holiness in order to be trusted.

This is according to the stakeholder relations firm EON, the Philippine affiliate of global public relations firm Edelman. Last week, EON released its first ever Philippine Trust Index, which examined the level and drivers of trust in stakeholder groups in the Philippines, and aimed to identify key drivers of trust in organizations.

The study conducted face-to-face interviews with 500 Filipinos from the National Capital Region, Cebu and Davao, aged 25-64 years old, from May to June 2011. 

The Church is the most trusted institution in the Philippines with 83% saying they “very much or somewhat much” trust the Church, followed by the media with 64%.

Media love affair

A whopping 93% of Filipinos watch TV every day, 55% use the internet daily and 35% listen to radio 7 days a week, according to the EON survey.

TV networks are the most trusted source of news with a 74% trust level, but online sites are gaining traction, with 68% trusting them as a news source.

This is slightly above the 66% trust rating that radio stations and newspapers enjoy. Blogs are the least trusted at 38%, the EON survey said.

Filipinos look primarily for truthfulness from their media sources; less than half care about adherence to fairness. They barely value balanced reporting or socially relevant news.

Additionally, media representatives are the most trusted to give credible information about their organization, boasting an impressive 75% trust level.

Trusted businesses

Less than half of the respondents trust the government – only 40% expressed a vote of confidence.

As for the 56% that trust business, information technology and telecommunications are the most trusted industries while only a handful trust mining, according to EON.

Filipinos trust businesses that give fair wages to employees more than those that give benefits to employees, practice fair labor or give proper tax payments. Only 8% of employees surveyed enjoy social security or Philhealth benefits from their employers, while a measly 5% are provided government-mandated benefits.

Finally, for non-government organizations which are trusted by 54% of the public, the most trusted NGOs advocate for health and nutrition, youth and children, and the environment.

Few believe in organizations that focus on peace and conflict resolution, the EON survey said. Filipinos’ trust in NGOs is driven not just by work for those in need but also by commitment to their cause.

For those that provide assistance to people in need, it is driven by groups that assist the needy without prejudice, and has projects for the urban poor and street children. They consider the NGO’s rationale in working for the cause as a dismal factor in affecting their trust.

Overall, integrity, efficiency, results, and concern for the environment are important attributes for Filipinos when evaluating an institution’s trustworthiness.

Government woes

Compared to other government offices, the level of trust in the Office of the President is much higher, suggesting a significant level of trust in President Benigno Aquino. 

Filipinos trust Malacañang, which enjoys a 54% trust level, followed by local government units at 44% and the Supreme Court at 41%.

Only 37% trust the Senate of the Philippines and regional trial courts, while 35% trust Cabinet and Executive Departments. The House of Representatives seems to have lost its credibility in the eyes of Filipinos, with only 32% trusting them. 

The top qualities Filipinos want to see for them to trust the government is a bureaucracy that is free of graft and corruption, and one that is honest and transparent. Surprisingly, a government that improves the economy, empowers the poor, or provide jobs will not gain their trust. What they want to see is for the government to eradicate corruption in the system and the misuse and pocketing of government funds.

Follow the reporter on Twitter: @natashya_g