THE Office of the President (OP) suffered the sharpest drop in general public trust rating this year based on the latest Philippine Trust Index (PTI), a study launched by the group EON.
Data showed that from a high of 26 percent in 2012, Malacañang’s PTI declined to 15 percent this year while its informed public trust rating fell from 24 percent to 11 percent.
Comparatively, local government units (LGUs) as sub-institutions emerged as the most trusted government entities by the public with 19 percent from the general public and 17 percent from the informed public. Following the LGUs are the Supreme Court and the Regional Trial Courts.
The 4th Philippine Trust Index covered 1,620 respondents from various socio-economic, educational and demographic backgrounds.
Face-to-face interviews with respondents from urban and rural areas in National Capital Region or Metro Manila, North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were conducted to gain insights on various factors that contribute to Filipinos’ trust in institutions.
The PTI is EON’s proprietary research that was launched in 2011 to examine trust levels and drivers across the government, church, non-government organizations (NGOs), business and the media. It also studied which communication channels and spokemen are trusted by the Filipino Informed Public, according to its website.
In 2012, EON and the Ateneo Graduate School of Business expanded PTI to include the Filipino General Public, and added the Academe as 6th stakeholder group to study.
Respondents expanded to Filipinos in urban and rural areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. recognized the PTI released by EON but noted that it differed from “other recognized” survey firms.
“We appreciate the feedback from opinion surveys such as the [PTI] released by EON, a public relations firm. These surveys assist government in improving its services to our bosses, the Filipino people,” Coloma said.
“We note, however, that EON’s findings differ significantly from other recognized research firms. In Pulse Asia’s latest report, President [Benigno Aquino 3rd’s] approval and trust ratings were 54 and 49 percent respectively. According to Social Weather Stations, the latest ‘good’ net satisfaction rating for the national government of +37 is higher than the +31 percent recorded in June 2015 and the highest since March 2014,” he pointed out.
The PTI data from 2012 to 2015 also indicated that the trust in LGUs was also the most stable in relation to the more volatile levels of trust in the country’s executive, legislative and judicial institutions.
Meanwhile, Coloma said the results of the PTI have emboldened them to do more.
“We remain focused on attaining the goal inclusive growth and building stronger public institutions that will provide continuity to daang matuwid [straight path]” he added, referring to the Aquino administration’s good-governance mantra.
Listening to feedback and opinion and genuine concern for people are the two most important qualities of government and business leaders, the PTI survey said.
The PTI expanded its research to include the Filipinos’ perceptions of an engaging leader for both business and government.
Filipinos valuing government leaders’ willingness to listen to their constituents garnered the highest percentages from both the general and informed publics, at 17 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
“Showing genuine concern for the people” garnered 12 percent from the general public and 13 percent from the informed public.
Another important quality of a government leader that received almost the same percentage is “having a strong political will” (12 percent for general public, 13 percent for informed public).
Only two out of 10 Filipinos, however, agree that government leaders today possess these top three important qualities.
Similar to the government leaders, the most valued quality of a business leader is his willingness to listen to employees’ feedback, at 19 percent for the general public and 23 percent for the informed public.
This was followed by “genuine concern for employees,” garnering 17 percent from both general and informed publics.
Only two out of 10 Filipinos agree that company executives today are receptive to employees’ feedback and are genuinely concerned about their people.
“Our findings on the most valued leadership qualities further underlined the importance of conversation and communication in building trust for public and private institutions,” said Junie del Mundo, CEO and chairman of EON The Stakeholder Relations Group.
He pointed out that the findings are very much aligned with key insight from last year’s PTI, where an overwhelming majority of the respondents said it is ‘very important’ for the government, businesses, NGOs and the media to communicate to their stakeholders.
“Dialogue and listening to the stakeholders should be the new framework for institutions, especially leaders of institutions, to build reputation and earn trust,” del Mundo said.
Continuing the tradition of the previous PTI surveys, the trust rating of the institutions along with the drivers of trust for the institutions were again examined this year.
The 2015 PTI survey, however, saw no movement in terms of the ranking of institutions based on trust rating.
The Catholic Church remained to be the most trusted institution in the country, with an overwhelming 73 percent of the general public and 68 percent of the informed public claiming to trust the Church very much.
The academe again garnered the second highest trust rating (51 percent and 46 percent), followed by media (32 percent and 23 percent).
Still at the bottom are government (12 percent and 7 percent), business (9 percent and 9 percent) and NGOs (9 percent and 8 percent).
Diving into the trust drivers for government and business, the survey results showed that the top trust drivers for government and businesses are the same across different demographics; from general to informed publics, from urban to rural areas, as well as respondents from the different socio-economic groups.
For the government, the trust driver with the highest garnered percentage– “ensures national peace and security”–is a surprising development as this appeared only in this year’s PTI.
For business, the top trust drivers are “providing good salaries and benefits,” “practices fair labor,” “improves quality of products / service,” “pays the right taxes,” “doesn’t discriminate [against]employees,” “treats its customers well” and “implements environment-friendly policies and programs.”
Another new feature of the 2015 PTI is relationship between the public and private sectors.
While 23 percent of general public and 20 percent of informed public agree that collaboration and partnership between the government and business have a positive impact on the country, very few respondents agree that government supports MSME development (14 percent from general public and 9 percent from informed public) or is doing well in regulating business activities (13 percent from general public and 9 percent from informed public).
Within the business sector, health and telco are the most trusted.
Health garnered 37 percent from the general public and 29 percent from the informed public while telco garnered 30 percent from the general public and 31 percent from the informed public. A close third is water (29 percent and 24 percent).
On the other hand, the least trusted industries are Legal Services (14 percent and 9 percent), Advertising and Public Relations (13 percent and 11 percent), Alcohol and Tobacco (7 percent and 4 percent) and Mining (5 percent and 4 percent).
Another new feature in this year’s PTI is the top-of-mind trusted companies and thesurvey results showed that almost a third of trusted companies are malls or manufacturers.
While television remains to be the most trusted source of information on government and business, this year’s survey showed that trust in online media continues to increase.
General public trust in online sources jumped to 16 percent this year from 11 percent last year for information on government, and 20 percent from 15 percent for businesses.
This jump in trust may be attributed to increasing Internet usage.
“Results of the 2015 PTI Survey show how important it is now to utilize all channels–from traditional media, to online news sites and even social media,” said Malyn Molina, managing director of Engage, the newly launched Public Affairs and Government Relations business of EON Group.