MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has graduated from being a “mostly unfree” to a “moderately free” economy, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation.
Up by 1.9 points, the country’s economic freedom score reached 60.1 this year, making it the 89th freest economy in the world. It’s rank has jumped eight notches from 97th in 2013.
It also marks the first time in a decade that it breached the 60-point mark to join other “moderately free” countries.
While the Philippines ranks 16th out of 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Heritage Foundation said its overall score was “slightly below the world average.”
“Improvements in seven of the 10 economic freedoms, including significant gains in trade freedom, investment freedom, and freedom from corruption, have been partially offset by a deterioration in property rights. With its third consecutive year of overall score improvement, the Philippines has risen back to ‘moderately free’ in the 2014 Index,” it said.
The Index of Economic Freedom takes into account the following issues: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property freedom, freedom from corruption and labor freedom.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the result was “another affirmation of the gains that our country is reaping along the straight path.” He said it reflected “significant improvements,” as well as the government’s consistency in its reform agenda.
However, Lacierda pointed out that the data used was based on 2012 statistics. “We believe that there have been significant improvements since then despite the challenges we had to overcome as one nation,” he said.
Nevertheless, the spokesperson said the “positive results of this evaluation only strengthen our administration’s resolve to continue implementing reforms founded on good governance and true public service, which are necessary prerequisites to fostering lasting and inclusive growth in the Philippines.”
The Index took into account the Philippine economy’s annual growth rate and legislative reforms on the investment environment, among others.
The top 5 freest countries are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
Listed as most repressed or least free are North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Eritrea.By Kristine Angeli Sabillo January 14, 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer