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THE PHILIPPINE PARADOX

EXECUTIVE
SUMMARY

The Philippine Trust Index | 1
About PTI
The Philippine Trust Index (PTI) is the EON Group’s multi-awarded
proprietary research that looks into the levels and drivers of
trust among Filipinos. It is a nationwide survey that cuts across
socioeconomic, 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.

For the fifth iteration of the PTI, EON collected responses from 1,200
Filipinos aged 18 and above from March to April 2017. These Filipinos
represent the sentiments of the general public. Among this larger pool
is a sample of 600 Filipinos deemed the informed public - Filipinos who
are at least 25 years old with at least 3 years of tertiary education and
who tune in to news updates at least twice a week.

As EON has always endeavored to go the extra mile to remain timely Table of Contents
and relevant, the PTI goes beyond trust levels to look deeper into
pressing issues important to Filipinos. This year, EON turned social
media into a pillar of the study by exploring Filipinos’ trust in social
Part I:
media compared to other institutions, and by listening in on social
Where do Filipinos place their trust?
media conversations about trust in the six key institutions to discover
Page 4
whether online discussions truly reflect on-the-ground realities.
Part II:
This initiative is driven by EON’s commitment to championing
What drives Filipinos to trust?
truth-telling for meaningful and lasting change. The PTI is born out
Page 8
of the belief that telling the truth well can only be done by
understanding trust in the Filipino society.
Part III:
What does this mean for truth-telling?
Page 10

On-the-Net vs. On-the-Ground:
Does social media buzz reflect
public sentiments?
For a more in-depth look at the discoveries of the Page 11
Philippine Trust Index 2017, a digital copy of the Primer is
available upon request. Please email researchandanalytics@eon.com.ph
THE PHILIPPINE
PARADOX
All over the world, we are seeing rises that rapidly change the way society functions.

We are seeing a rise in uncertainty.
From unconventional and unpredictable leaders of nations, monumental events in international relations and an apparent
return to protectionism, to the growing threat of terrorism to both security and the economy - all these new players plus the
constantly evolving rules of the game have made it all the more difficult to navigate the local and global arenas.

We are seeing a rise in social media’s ubiquity and its power to influence real-world outcomes.
The Internet penetration rate and social media access around the world (including the Philippines) are on the rise, but still only
make up less than half of the global population. Still, political and market outcomes in the last years would suggest that online
conversations are representative of public sentiment, or at the very least they spur concrete actions - from rallies to boycotts
to high-profile resignations.

We are seeing a rise in demands placed on institutions to do well and to do good.
Social media has given us a platform to air our grievances, and the result is that now more than ever, for better or for worse,
fairly or unfairly, we have become a more demanding society, most especially of institutions. With social media acting as both
our megaphone to the public and our direct line to institutions, we make sure that institutions know not only our demands, but
also that we are constantly watching and scrutinizing their every move.

The result of these rises is a society that is constantly uncertain of institutions’ motives, of political and market outcomes, and
of the truth. And when uncertainty rises, trust falls.

The world is experiencing a crisis of trust1.
Across the globe, trust in society’s four key institutions - the government, the business sector, NGOs and the media - have all
dropped like never before.

In the Philippines, trust is on the rise.
This is the Philippine Paradox.

1 - Edelman Global Trust Barometer 2017
PART I: WHERE DO FILIPINOS PLACE THEIR TRUST?

This year marks a time of many firsts for the Philippine Trust Index (PTI). Four out of society’s six institutions gained the
trust and favor of the Filipino people, while trust in two, the Church and the Media, stagnated this 2017. The greatest gainer of
Filipinos’ favor is the government as extreme trust almost tripled since 2015 while overall trust levels are up by 30 percentage
points (pp). This sharp incline puts trust in the government at par with trust in the media - a first in PTI history.

While the Church, regardless of religion, remains to be the most trusted by Filipinos, trust in this institution continues to decline
- a trend going on since 2014 - while overall trust has stagnated. This plateau is matched by the growing overall trust in the
Academe, which means that for the first time in PTI history, Filipinos’ overall trust in the Church and the Academe are at the
same level.

Trust in Institutions over Time

100
92 94 92 93 93
24 19 19 27 88 87 36 Moderate Trust
85 84
40
35 36 80 78 Extreme Trust
77 51 75
75 51 73 50
45 60
75 73 41 68
68 66 55
58 59
55 55 56
43 50 52 44 46
50
57 50 46 46
53 51 39 38 40
41
45 32
35 33 32
25 29 28

15 13 15 13
11 12 9 9 12 12 9
0
2012 2014 2015 2017 2012 2014 2015 2017 2012 2014 2015 2017 2012 2014 2015 2017 2012 2014 2015 2017 2012 2014 2015 2017

Church Academe Government Media Business NGOs

LOOKING DEEPER: WHAT FACTORS AFFECT FILIPINOS’ TRUST?
1. Rural residents are a more trusting people than urban dwellers. Trust in all institutions are generally higher among rural
residents versus their urban counterparts, but the difference is most stark (14pp) for people’s trust in media.

Trust in Institutions
(by Area)

90
Church
95

90
Academe
95

77
Government 82

71
Media
85

Business 73
76

57
NGOs 61

50 60 70 80 90 100

Urban Rural

4 | The Philippine Trust Index
THE PHILIPPINE PARADOX

2. Trust levels across institutions and sub-institutions vary significantly among Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The three
island groups are most divided about their trust in the Church, Academe and Government. Luzonians trust the Church and
Academe far more than Visayans and Mindanaoans, but the Government is significantly more trusted by Mindanaoans.

Trust in Institutions
(by Location)
100

75 75 74
70
66 65
63
59
57
50 54 55
49 49
45

29 30 30 28
25 26 28 27 27 26
21 21
18
15 14 15 14 13 12 13 15 13 12
13

0
Church Academe Government Media Business NGOs

Average NCR North Luzon South Luzon Visayas Mindanao

3. Institutions are trusted less by Filipinos on social media than by Filipinos offline. The gaps are most significant for the
government (8pp), the media (8pp), and the academe. It’s also worth noting that rural residents are less likely to have social
media access (36.4%) than urban dwellers (63.6%).

Trust in Institutions
(by Social Media Access)
100

75 81
78

61
50 54

33 32
25
25 24

14 15 14
12
0
Church Academe Government Media Business NGOs

Uses Social Media Does Not Use Social Media

The Philippine Trust Index | 5
THE PTI 2017 WILDCARD: Trust in Government Sub-Institutions
100
TRUST IN THE GOVERNMENT 82
43 78
75 51
Filipinos trust most government 67 67 67 67
65
sub-institutions more now than ever 50 51 44 45
57 49
before. The Office of the President
40
experienced an unprecedented jump in 50

extreme trust (24pp) and overall trust
(31pp) levels. This makes OP this 39
year’s most trusted government 25 28
sub-institution, surpassing LGUs 23 22
17 17
despite the gains of the latter, while 16 16
the Office of the Vice President has the 0
lowest trust ratings in 2017. OP OVP Cabinet LGUs Senate HOR SC RTC

Moderate Trust Extreme Trust

Filipinos are most likely to trust government agencies with which they always interact, evident in the fact that Filipinos’ most
trusted government agencies provide social services while the least trusted are those with which the everyday Filipino would
rarely interact. PhilHealth, SSS and DepEd are at the top of the list with at least 93% of Filipinos putting their trust in these
agencies, while NEDA, DBM and DOF have the most number of Filipinos unfamiliar with these agencies, and unsurprisingly, the
least number of Filipinos claiming to trust in them.

Trust in Government Agencies
100
37 39 39
37 42 42 45
46
75 45 43 48 48 48
40 46 47 46 48
43
41 43 45 46
58 39 43 44
55 39
50 54 40
51 39
49 35
46
42 28 30
36 36 34
31 29
25 28
25 25 25 24 24 23
22 21 20 19 19
17 17 15 15 15
13 12 11
0

Moderate Trust Extreme Trust

CREEPING GROWTH: TRUST IN THE BUSINESS SECTOR
Extreme trust in business industries are on the rise this 2017. Almost all businesses are now more trusted by Filipinos
compared to two years ago. The Manufacturing and Food & Beverages (F&B) Industries gained the most trust in the past two
years (10pp jump each), while the Water and Sanitation industry is the sole stagnant industry. Among the general public,
healthcare maintains its position as the most trusted industry, but for this year, the F&B and pharmaceutical industries flank
healthcare as each jumped 8 ranks and 1 rank respectively in the last two years. On the other side, Filipinos trust least the
Mining, Alcohol and Tobacco, Advertising and PR, and Legal industries, all of which hold their positions as the least trusted
industries. While they certainly are a far cry from being trusted by Filipinos, trust in these industries nonetheless improved by
3-4pp since 2015.

Trust in Business Industries over Time
2015 2017
50
37 40 36 35 35
28 30 32 31
28 30 30 29 29 29 28
26 27 24 27 25 25
25 23 21 23 22 21 19 19
15 15 16 16 15 14 17 13
16
11 9
7 5
0

That this roster of most trusted industries all include brands that
Filipinos use or come in contact with regularly suggests that
repeated interactions is what builds trust.
6 | The Philippine Trust Index
THE PHILIPPINE PARADOX

Filipinos trust brands that they come in contact with most often, whether as employees or as customers. Tallying together
the Filipinos’ most trusted brand names, most fall under the manufacturing and retail sectors, followed by restaurants and
fastfood chains.
Most Trusted Brands by Sector

36
33
19
14
10
6
5
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
11
0 10 20 30 40

Trust versus Fame: The Most Popular & The Most Trusted
GENERAL PUBLIC INFORMED PUBLIC
Which brands are the MOST POPULAR MOST TRUSTED MOST POPULAR MOST TRUSTED
most popular and which SM SM SM SM
are the most trusted Jollibee San Miguel Corp. San Miguel Corp. San Miguel Corp.
among Filipinos? San Miguel Corp. Jollibee Jollibee Jollibee
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola Coca-Cola Coca-Cola
McDonald’s McDonald’s Metro Gaisano Aboitiz
Robinsons BDO Mitsumi Mitsumi
BDO Robinsons Aboitiz Metro Gaisano
Nestle Philippines Aboitiz McDonald’s BDO
Meralco Nestle Philippines PLDT McDonald’s
PLDT Meralco Robinsons PLDT

A PARADIGM SHIFT IN COMMUNICATIONS: TRUST IN MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Television networks, radio stations, and newspapers - the triad of traditional media - remain to be the most trusted
media channels among Filipinos, far surpassing the overall level of trust in social media sites. The general public trusts
(both extreme and overall trust) most media channels more than their informed counterparts, with the sole exception of
social media sites; while extreme trust in social media sites is slightly higher among the general public, overall trust in
social media sites is significantly higher (10pp) among informed Filipinos.

Trust in Media Channels
(General Public vs. Informed Public)
100

45
52 50
56
75 54
56
49
48
46 51
50 37 39
41
44
32
35
32
25
24
21
15 18 15
14
12 11
6 8 7
0
G.P. I.P. G.P. I.P. G.P. I.P. G.P. I.P. G.P. I.P. G.P. I.P. G.P. I.P.

TV Networks Radio Stations Newspapers Social Media Sites Online News Sites Magazines Blogs

Moderate Trust Extreme Trust

The Philippine Trust Index | 7
What is interesting to note is that while only 49% of Filipinos have access to social media, those who are online trust in social
media more than they trust media as an institution, the latter being primarily associated with traditional media. There are also
more people who flat out distrust the media than social media.

Trust and Distrust in Media and Social Media among Social Media Users

MEDIA 24.1% 49.3% 21.4%
73.4%

87.3%
SOCIAL 29.3% 58% 12.2%
MEDIA

0.0% 25.0% 50.0% 75.0% 100.0%

Extreme Trust Moderate Trust Neutral Moderate Distrust Extreme Distrust

The Philippines’ Top Communicators:
Who are Filipinos’ most trusted media personalities? Among those who do trust
social media, organic and
General Public Informed Public
personal posts by friends
Jessica Soho
Vikki Morales
Raffy Tulfo
Jessica Soho
and family are the most
Mike Enriquez Mel Tiangco trusted social media
Mel Tiangco Mike Enriquez content, while social media
Noli de Castro
Bernadette Sembrano
Bernadette Sembrano
Noli de Castro
influencers’ content and
Ted Failon Ted Failon strangers’ posts shared by
Karen Davila Julius Babao their network are the
Julius Babao Karen Davila
Korina Sanchez Korina Sanchez
least trusted

PART II: WHAT DRIVES FILIPINOS TO TRUST?
FILIPINOS WILL TRUST THE
GOVERNMENT THAT IMPROVES THEIR
EVERYDAY LIVES IN CONCRETE WAYS.
Filipinos’ priorities remain unchanged since
2015, but people are far more satisfied with the
government’s performance today. Filipinos still Government Performance Ratings vis-a-vis Trust Drivers
value the government’s ability to ensure peace
and security and to help the poor as the foremost 23
LEVEL OF IMPORTANCE

43
drivers of trust in institutions. People also consider
22
providing better job opportunities and putting 40
corrupt politicians in jail as major drivers of trust. 25
42
Taken together, this shows that Filipinos’ trust in
25
the government is hinged on the institution’s ability 47
to improve their everyday lives in concrete ways. 20
38
34
What has changed in the last two years is how 46
satisfied Filipinos are with the government’s 15
32
performance vis-a-vis these trust drivers. Filipinos 23
are most satisfied with how the government has 36
been putting corrupt politicians in jail (47%), 16
28
preparing communities for disasters and calamities 24
(46%) and ensuring national security (43%). The 37
most radical increases are seen in the people’s 19
30
satisfaction with the government’s economic
0 25 50 75 100
prowess, particularly its ability to improve the
Philippine economy (18pp) and to support industry Y2015 Y2017
development (17pp).

8 | The Philippine Trust Index
THE PHILIPPINE PARADOX

FILIPINOS ARE MOST ATTENTIVE TO HOW BUSINESSES
TREAT REGULAR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THEIR EMPLOYEES.
For Filipinos, how businesses treat their
employees is the primary determinant
of trust and distrust in the institution.
Three of the five most important drivers
of trust are tied to employee welfare, like Business Sector Performance Ratings vis-a-vis Trust Drivers
providing good salaries and benefits and
cultivating a fair and non-discriminatory 42

LEVEL OF IMPORTANCE
workplace, while the other two are hinged 48
on good customer service. This goes to 41
show that more than corporate policies 41
or leadership, people are more concerned 39
43
about how businesses treat regular people
39
- employees and customers alike. 41
38
These trust drivers have consistently 41
been the most important to Filipinos, 37
but this year, more Filipinos believe that 41
the business sector is faring far better 37
40
today compared to two years ago. The 35
general public rated the business sector’s 41
performance against trust drivers an 35
average of 14pp higher than they did in 37
2015. Filipinos are most satisfied with 34
the business sector’s performance in 37
the five most important indicators as 33
33
well as against the trust driver “does 30
business well to increase profit”, but 34
the institution’s performance ratings 30
improved the most for how businesses 32
treat their employees - i.e., providing good 20 40 60 80 100
salaries and benefits (15pp) and practicing
fair labor practices (14pp), including General Public Informed Public
non-discrimination (14pp) - as well as for
how the company treats the environment
(14pp) and local suppliers (15pp).

FILIPINOS’ TRUST IN THE MEDIA IS HINGED ON THE INSTITUTION’S
PERCEIVED INTEGRITY, OBJECTIVITY, AND COMPETENCE.

It comes as no surprise that the Media Performance Ratings vis-a-vis Trust Drivers
drivers of trust in the media that
are most valued by Filipinos focus
on their integrity as professionals, 47
LEVEL OF IMPORTANCE

and competence and objectivity 37
as reporters of facts. While the 36
informed public rates the media’s 26
performance vis-a-vis these trust 52
drivers significantly lower than 43
the general public, Filipinos are 43
unanimously most satisfied with 32
the media’s competence and
51
objectivity when reporting facts, 47
and unanimously least satisfied
with the media’s integrity. 44
37
45
41
39
34
26
24
22
21

0 25 50 75 100

General Public Informed Public

The Philippine Trust Index | 9
TRUST DRIVERS IN THE CHURCH,
Visayans are least satisfied with the
ACADEME AND NGOS media’s integrity, objectivity and
WHAT DRIVES TRUST IN THE CHURCH?
competence compared to all other
1. Effectiveness in teaching the religion regions in the Philippines. Visayans
2. Sound counsel of religious leaders
3. Outreach programs
rated the media an average of 12pp
lower than the national mean across
WHAT DRIVES TRUST IN NGOS?
1. Freedom from corruption
all trust drivers, but the biggest gap
2. Effectiveness in helping those in real need was seen against the media’s concern
3. Freedom from political interests
about environmental issues (22pp), as
WHAT DRIVES TRUST IN THE ACADEME? well as the media’s ability to provide
1. Effectiveness in providing quality education
quality content (17pp) and present all
2. Capability to teach good moral values
3. Ability to provide free education concerned sides in the news (17pp).

PART III: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TRUTH-TELLING?

KEY INSIGHTS FROM THE PHILIPPINE TRUST INDEX
1.  rust is built through repeated interactions. People can only truly trust what they know and understand. Whether it
T
be the government or the business sector, the most trusted institutions and sub-institutions are those that Filipinos
come in contact with the most. Frequent and meaningful engagement with stakeholders is thus an imperative in
cultivating trust in a brand. Using multiple channels to tell a brand’s story is important in first generating awareness
and eventually building trust-based relationships.

2.  rganizations must communicate tangible, relatable truths. While news of great corporate policies or macroeconomic
O
success can improve an institution’s reputation among certain people, what the public at large care about most is how
institutions can affect their daily lives in concrete ways. Stories that communicate how organizations can benefit the
lives of regular Filipinos are more effective in building trust among the public.

3.  ocial media has changed the way people deal with and trust in institutions. While traditional media is still important
S
in building credibility and reaching a wider audience, seeing that Filipinos on social media trust it more than media as
an institution, it is critical that organizations also invest in digital communications. Social media has democratized
information dissemination, but the risk is likewise great that people would use social media in irresponsible or even
malicious ways. This is why organizations should capitalize on social media to establish their own social media assets
as official sources of information, thus taking control of the conversations surrounding their brand.

4.  ilipinos generally trust institutions more today, which suggests that leaders of these key institutions are more
F
influential now than in the last few years. However, this rising trust in institutions is juxtaposed with an apparent lack
of social trust among Filipinos. In fact, social media conversations in the Philippines suggest that Filipinos consider
others who do not share their views and opinions with extreme distrust. This is worrying because social trust has
been linked to social cohesion, improved safety and security1, and more stable and democratic societies2. To develop
our society, it is thus crucial that leaders in society harness their influence and take advantage of the momentum of
growing trust to cultivate trust among Filipinos, not just in institutions but in each other.

1 - Of Risk, Uncertainty, Safety, and Trust: (Re)Locating Human Insecurities by Victor King (2016)
2 - System of Trust as a Basis for a Safe and Secure Society by Kiyoshi Abe, et al (2010)

10 | The Philippine Trust Index
ON-THE-NET VS. ON-THE-GROUND:
DOES SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ REFLECT PUBLIC SENTIMENTS?

While only about half of Filipinos are online and active on social media, recent events have proven that whatever is trending on
social media can impact the country in very tangible ways. Using Groundswell™, EON’s proprietary and award-winning social
media listening tool, we tuned in on online conversations from June 2016 to June 2017 to find out how Filipinos talk about trust
in the six institutions.

We found out that while social media conversations capture only part of the picture, they nonetheless reflect on-the-ground
realities about Filipino trust. Out of the six institutions, the Government (11,394), the Media (3,298) and the Church (2,006) were
the most meaningfully discussed on social media, meaning the institutions were mentioned in posts that were relevant to the
overall topic of trust in institutions, even though the Business Sector (6,721) and the Academe (3,833) garnered more mentions
than the latter two.

WHEN WE DUG DEEPER, WE FOUND THESE THREE HIGHLIGHTS FROM SOCIAL MEDIA:

1. T
 he government was the most discussed institution on social media, and it also had the smallest share of negative
mentions out of all the times it factored into conversations compared to other institutions. Going down to the level of
sub-institutions, the Office of the President (37%) and the Office of the Vice President (29%) were the most mentioned,
with the former garnering the most positive sentiments and the latter, the most negative.

Sentiment Meter: Institutions on Social Media Share of Voice: Government Sub-Institutions

7.0%
Church 42 38 20

24.0% 37.0%
Government 42 34 24
OP
OVP
Cabinet
Media 3 83 14 Senate
29.0% Local Government
House of Representatives
Ombudsman
Positive Negative Neutral

2. The majority of online conversations about both the church and the media focused on government-related topics,
and these were also from where the negative sentiments of Filipino netizens stemmed. For the church, most of these
government-related posts centered on peace and security issues (e.g., war on drugs, death penalty, extrajudicial killings),
while for the media, the posts were largely about government personalities and often in the context of these personalities
lambasting the media.

Topics of Conversations Topics of Conversations
about the Church about the Media
The Roman Catholic
34% 34%
Church (55% of total
23% 23%
mentions) was the most
mentioned by Filipinos
online. It was followed
by non-denominational
77% 77% 66% 66% Christianity (25%), Islam
(12%) and Iglesia Ni
Religion-Related
Religion-Related
Posts Posts Trust in Media Trust
as an in
Institution
Media as an Institution
Government-Related
Government-Related
Issues Issues Government-Related
Government-Related
Issues Issues Cristo (8%).

3. Out of all the issues covered by the different trust drivers of the six institutions, peace and security were the most
discussed online - and not just in relation to the government, but to the church and to the media as well. More specifically, the
Marawi and Martial Law issues were the most discussed by people online, followed by the death penalty, extra-judicial killings,
war on drugs and violent groups like the Abu Sayyaf and the NPA.

Share of Voice: Peace and Security Peace and Security Conversation Topics

8%
11% 12%
10% 26%
Church
Government 11%
Media
11% 18%
77% 16%

The Philippine Trust Index | 11
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About EON
The EON Group is a fully integrated communications agency committed to the vision of truth-telling
as a compelling instrument for meaningful and lasting change. Through the years, EON focused
on achieving synergies among its four practice areas - Corporate and Marketing public relations
(EON PR), reputation management and public affairs (ENGAGE), creative technology (DIG), and
experiential marketing (TANGERINE). Fuelled by highly specialized and diverse disciplines, The EON
Group champions imaginative storytelling that is grounded firmly on data and analytics. As a leading
communications agency in the ASEAN region, the company has been shortlisted by the Holmes
Report for three consecutive years as Southeast Asia Consultancy of the Year. It is also the recipient
of the two ASEAN Business Awards in 2013 and is the lone Philippine firm in Global PRWeek’s Agency
Business Report for 2016 and 2017.

CONTACT US:

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12 | The Philippine Trust Index