Business outdone by Church, 3 other sectors in public trust – EON study

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In photo: Catholic faithful prays inside Baguio Cathedral (Photo by Mau Victa/THEPHILBIZNEWS)

As the country continues to battle the pandemic, Filipinos surveyed for EON Group’s latest Philippine Trust Index (PTI) showed an increased trust in the church and three other sectors of society but a decline in rating for business.

The PTI 2021, which polled 800 respondents 18 years old and above, seeks to determine how various institutions responded to the pandemic as it continues to create havoc in the lives of the people.

With the theme, “Trust Rewards the Agile and the Future-Ready,” the PTI 2021 revealed that the trust rating increased for the Church, the Academe, the Media, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

NGOs, in particular, saw the highest gain, nearly doubling its 2019 trust rating this year.

For the business sector, it was interesting to note that the 2021 PTI reflected a decline in public trust, while the level of trust in government was fairly the same to that in 2019.

On the part of the government, only five institutions received a high trust rating: the Department of Education (DepEd) at 91 percent; Pag-Ibig Fund, 89 percent; the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 88 percent; and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), tied at 87 percent.

Based on the same poll, government agencies that are least trusted are the Office of the Ombudsman, the Senate, the Office of Vice-President, the Department of Budget and Management, the Presidential Communications Operations Office, and the Department of Finance.

The nationwide study conducted from August to September 2021 cuts across socio-economic, educational, geographic, and demographic backgrounds to discover just how much Filipinos trust the six key institutions in society: the Government, the Business Sector, the Media, Non-Governmental Organizations, the Church and the Academe.

EON has been producing the PTI biannually in the past decade with respondents grouped into four – the National Capital Region (NCR), Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

For this year, the study included listening in on online conversations held between August 2020 and August 2021 to get a picture of the country’s landscape from the perspective of both the people on the ground and those who join discussions online.

Aside from their trust levels, the study also delves into how the pandemic has changed the Filipinos’ perception of each institution’s trustworthiness based on their respective responses to the ongoing crisis.

In this aspect, only the government saw the change in its negative perception outweighs the change in its positive one.

“The pandemic has definitely taken a toll on us and has magnified the importance of trust,” says Junie del Mundo, co-founder and Chief Executive of the EON Group. “This year’s PTI will give you a better understanding of the state of trust in the Philippines, especially in a society that was torn apart by the cruel effects of a pandemic and the restrictions that it allowed to happen.”

Yet despite the difficult conditions of the past two years, 91 percent of the survey respondents chose the Philippines to be their country of permanent residence even once travel restrictions are eased post-pandemic.

Those who said that they have plans of leaving the country would depart not to migrate, but to pursue better work opportunities abroad.

To help enrich the discussion around the study’s results during the launch, EON invited a panel of experts to give their insights on the country’s trust landscape: Kristian Ablan, undersecretary for Administration, Finance, and Freedom of Information at the Presidential Communications Operations Office; Ruth Novales, Corporate Affairs Executive for Nestlé Philippines; journalist Camille Elemia; Atty. Gianna Montonola, co-founder of Hands On Manila; ABS-CBN chaplain Rev. Fr. Tito Caluag; and Jamil Paolo Francisco, PhD, the interim School Head of the Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development and Management of AIM. The forum was moderated by Jayeel Cornelio, PhD, sociologist and director of Ateneo de Manila University’s Development Studies Program.

With trust even more crucial, I hope that this year’s PTI results will help our institutions cultivate trust among stakeholders, help them navigate toward a better Philippines, and shape the leaders of today and the future,” Del Mundo added.

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