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Pinoys’ Trust In Business Sector Drops – Research

Pinoys’ Trust In Business Sector Drops – Research
Photo taken by The Philippine STAR’s Boy Santos on July 13, 2021 shows employees at a shoe factory in Marikina City resuming work after the lockdowns imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filipinos’ trust in the business sector declined over the past two years, the biggest drop among six institutions, amid failure to ensure business continuity and preserve jobs of many people during the pandemic, according to the 2021 Philippine Trust Index (PTI).

The PTI, a proprietary biennial research by communications agency EON Group, measures public trust in key institutions in society: government, business, media, NGOs, church and academe.

It showed that the country’s institutions continue to enjoy the trust of most Filipinos, with the media and non-government organizations (NGOs) seeing significant increases over the past two years.

The business sector, however, was the only institution that suffered a decline to 66% in 2021 from 71% in 2019.

Non-government organizations (NGOs) saw the sharpest increase in trust from 37% to 70%. This was followed by the media with a 7% jump from 69% in 2019 to 76% in 2021.

Trust in the Church remained high at 91%, up 1%, while trust in academe and government remained at 90% and 76%, respectively.

The index showed that the business sector failed to improve or maintain the trust among Filipinos with drops noted across Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, especially during the pandemic. It was only Metro Manila that recorded an increase in trust for the business sector at three percentage points.

Top drivers for trust in the sector include fair labor practices, good salaries, benefits to employees and environment friendly policies and programs.

“We cannot underestimate the effects of the country’s rising unemployment rate and the loss of job security for many Filipinos during the pandemic. In fact, the business sector was perceived to have shown failed leadership and a slow organizational pivot,” the report said.

“It just goes to show that a business as usual approach at the time when conditions are not at all usual hasn’t been good enough for Filipinos,” it said.

The PTI revealed that the pandemic gave rise to new expectations this year, with Filipinos worried about their survival and safety.

Filipinos also want institutions to be responsive, decisive and able to provide what people are urgently asking from them.

“This is evident in the case of the business sector, where not all companies have the capability to build or maintain multi-tiered organizational systems, and most of them were caught flat-footed by the restrictions caused by the pandemic,” PTI said.

“Pivoting with limited resources proved to be difficult, forcing many of them to make painful business decisions, with many Filipinos experiencing unemployment since 2020. They could not help but feel that their former employers failed to protect them,” it added.

In the business sector, food and beverage and health care services remain the most trusted industries in the Philippines while mining is still the least trusted.

The PTI reported the most impressive increase of 33 percentage points in non-government organizations or NGOs with the most trusted advocacies focusing on education for the youth and children, human rights and labor issues.

Drivers include engagement in real programs such as provision of jobs and livelihood, health care and educational assistance.

Further, Filipinos’ trust in the media improved to 76% amid a quicker and more responsive approach during the pandemic and other natural calamities.

“Survey respondents agreed strongly that for this year, journalists and reporters have been competent and seeking and reporting only the truth,” PTI said.

For specific media, The Philippine STAR was the most trusted broadsheet, jumping from 69% to 84%.

GMA took the top spot in the TV network category while dzBB got the highest trust in the radio category.

As for trust in government, this remained at 76% despite many Filipinos’ expressing unhappiness over the administration’s response to the health crisis.

The PTI noted that people took into consideration how local government units picked up the slack for the national government, especially on the ground.

However, online conversations about the government have been critical with distrust accounting for 43% of online mentions.

Scientists or medical professionals obtained a total trust of 77%, followed by people in the community at 73%, employers at 66%, and business leaders at 66%.

In terms of government agencies, departments that got the highest trust are those whose functions require them to remain engaged with the public, even during the pandemic such as online learning, finance regulation, loan assistance and aid distribution.

The Department of Education got the highest trust at 91%, followed by Pag-IBIG and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Completing the top five are the Government Service Insurance System and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

On the other hand, the least trusted agencies were the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Finance, both responsible for handling public money.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office is also one of the least trusted, signifying the lack of public trust and credibility of the President’s communications team.

Meanwhile, the PTI also asked respondents if they would consider leaving the country once travel restrictions ease, given the challenging circumstances caused by the pandemic.

Surprisingly, 91% said they are not at all considering leaving the country while the remaining 9% said they plan to but not exactly to migrate but just to find better job opportunities.

“Filipinos are willing to stay in the country to do the hard work. They still hold hope for the country to recover and make progress post-pandemic,” PTI said.

Online conversations

There were also significant differences in the perceptions of institutional trustworthiness between the people surveyed on the ground and the people joining conversations online.

For instance, almost all sentiments online about the church in 2021 were tagged as neutral (98 percent), with the remaining two percent signifying distrust.

Online trust is highest among NGOs at 45 percent, followed by the government at 20 percent, businesses at 18 percent and media and the academe at 10 percent each.

“Sentiments of trust expressed in the digital space over the past two years have lowered across almost all institutions,” said Teddy Mapa, head of EON Group’s strategic planning and analytics.

“In terms of distrust, the government still holds mostly unfavorable views from social media users, with negative mentions comprising a majority of online conversations about it,” she added.

The online component of the PTI – called the groundswell – is based on online conversations gathered from August 2020 to 2021.

“Keywords for each institution had two components: institution-related and trust-related keywords. In terms of platforms scanned, mentions were pulled from social media, forums, blogs, online publications and digital news,” read the report.

“To dive deeper into conversations per institution, researchers manually tagged a sample size of 400 mentions following standard random sampling to measure sentiment, as well as assess key themes and topics recurring in conversations,” it added.

Meanwhile, the on-ground survey was conducted from Aug. to Sept. 2021 using face-to-face interviews with 800 respondents. It has a sampling error of +/- three percent at 95 percent confidence level.