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Filipinos trust churches most, lawmakers least.

Manila: The majority of Filipinos trust the church most as an institution, regardless of sects and denominations that abound in the Philippines, a recent survey shows.

Topping a total of six institutions that were subjected to trustworthiness test, the lowest-rated sector on the list was the government, including the two houses of Congress.

However, the office of the president has remained trusted because of the enigmatic popularity of President Benigno Aquino and his family.

The survey was carried out by the Philippine Trust Index (PTI) in the second quarter of 2014 and the results, which was released on Tuesday, covered 1,600 respondents.

The participants were divided into two categories: 1,000 respondents with only two years of college attendance who were categorised as "ordinary citizens or general public"; and 600 other respondents with college degrees who were identified as "informed citizens," explained Malou Tiquia of Publicis Asia, a consulting firm.

In the same survey, 75 per cent of the general public and 66 per cent of informed citizens trust the church, respectively. Results of the survey belie earlier allegations that the Church has lost its say in secular Philippine society.

"Filipinos trust the Church over all other sectors of civil society. Its trust rating has been increasing since PTI has started its survey in 2011," Tiquia explained.

The majority of Filipinos belong to the Roman Catholic church, while the rest are Protestants, other non-Catholic Christians, and Muslims who are based in the southern Philippines.

In the same survey, 53 per cent of the general public and 45 per cent of informed citizens said they trust the academe, giving academics, professors, scholars, and students authority and leverage because of their knowledge of issues in governance and social Philippine conditions, Tiquia said.

Meanwhile, 33 per cent of the general public and 22 per cent of informed citizens trust the media. TV networks, radio and printed broadsheets are favoured over online sources, said Tiquia.

The popularity of media personalities who are exposed on TV, radio, and print media, has paved the way for their election to public offices.

Thirteen per cent of the general public and 10 per cent of informed citizens trust businesses, Tiquia said, adding that the high trust ratings have something to do with brands and services that consumers are familiar with.

Non-governmental organisations were also perceived well.

Twelve per cent of the general public and nine per cent of informed citizens said they trust non-governmental organisations (NGO), said Tiquia, adding that NGOs offer social development projects and assistance to poor and marginalised sectors of Philippine society.

Eleven per cent of the general public and seven per cent of informed citizens trust the government, respectively, said Tiquia, adding that the trust rating given by the general public to the government dropped by four per cent, while among informed citizens it went down by seven per cent from 14 per cent in 2012.

Trust in the government has declined since 2012, said Tiquia.

Another analyst told Gulf News, "The low trust rating given by the general public and informed citizens to the government as a sector is distressing. It could signal anomie, a state in which the population no longer looks up to government officials as viable symbols of authority."

Seven per cent of the general public and four per cent of informed citizens trust Congress, a government sector, said Tiquia

Distrust of lawmakers could be traced to the allegations by whistle-blowers that 26 senators and more than 100 congressmen siphoned government funds through non-existent projects and to bogus non-governmental organisations.

This has resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of three opposition senators on plunder charges.

The president's office fare better, with 16 per cent of the general public and 15 per cent of informed citizens still trusting the institution, Tiquia said.

However, the trust rating given by the general public to the office of the president still dropped by 12 per cent from 28 per cent in 2012. The number of informed citizens who trust the same office went down by nine per cent from 24 per cent in 2012.

"The ratings are still comparable to the trust ratings given by the general public and informed citizens to the Supreme Court, line cabinets, and local government units," Tiquia explained.

Explaining the popularity of the office of the president, Tiquia said, "It reflects the people's romanticism with President Aquino's family and its storied past; including people's belief that he would act like what his parents did in the past."

Noting the lesson that can be learnt from PTI's survey, Malyn Molina, assistant vice president for EON which publishes PTI's survey said, "In Philippine culture, trust breaks communication barriers; it is a good tool to build up relationships."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 29, 2014
Words:802
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