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PHL Rule of Law index rank is up, but trails Asean peers

The Philippines improved its ranking by five notches in the 2022 Rule of Law Index released by the US-based World Justice Project (WJP).

The country is now ranked 97th out of 140 countries in 2022 with an overall score of 0.47. However, it is the laggard among its Asean peers and the third to the last in the East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) region.

It ranked fifth in the Asean-5 while it ranked 13th out of 15 in the East Asia and the Pacific region. The highest ranking country in the Asean is Singapore, ranked 17th in the world while New Zealand topped the EAP with a world ranking of 7th out of 140 economies.

East Asia and Pacific

“Philippines’s overall rule of law score increased 1.4 percent in this year’s Index. It ranks 97th out of 140 countries worldwide, rising five positions since last year. Significant trends for Philippines included an improvement in the factor measuring Order and Security,” WJP said in a statement.

The index measures each country’s performance in terms of eight indicators. These are constraints on government powers; absence of corruption; open government; and fundamental rights.

The list of indicators also include order and security; regulatory enforcement; civil justice; and criminal justice.

The Philippines ranked the highest in open government, where it ranked 71st out of 140 with an overall score in the indicator of 0.50. The indicator where the country was ranked the lowest was fundamental rights at 118th out of 140 with a score of 0.40.

In terms of score, the country received its highest score of 0.66 for order and security which, however, only allowed it to rank 101st out of 140 countries.

The lowest score received by the Philippines was 0.32 for criminal justice, where it ranked 117th out of 140 countries globally.

In the last year, WJP said 10 out of 15 countries declined in East Asia and the Pacific. Of those 10 countries, six also declined in the previous year. Among lower-middle income countries, the Philippines ranks 16th out of 38 countries.

“We are emerging from the pandemic, but the global rule of law recession continues,” said Elizabeth Andersen, executive director of the WJP. “At its heart, rule of law is about fairness—that is, accountability, equal rights, and justice for all. And a less fair world is bound to be a more volatile one.”

WJP said for the fifth year in a row, the rule of law has declined globally.

The World Justice Project’s original data in 140 countries and jurisdictions shows that adherence to the rule of law fell in 61 percent of countries this year.

However, the Philippines is among the minority of countries to see its Rule of Law Index score increase this year. Globally, 4.4 billion people live in countries where rule of law has declined over the past year.

Globally, the top-ranked country in the WJP Rule of Law Index 2022 is Denmark, followed by Norway, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The country with the lowest score is Venezuela, then Cambodia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti.

The WJP Rule of Law Index is the world’s leading source of independent rule of law data. It draws on in-depth surveys with more than 154,000 everyday people and 3,600 legal practitioners and experts to measure rule of law.

Some of the biggest global declines this year were in the Index factors associated with rising authoritarianism and the longer-term erosion of rule of law.

This year, respect for fundamental rights declined in two-thirds of countries. Checks on government powers—such as oversight by the judiciary, legislature, and media—fell in 58 percent of countries this year.

The other top factor driving this year’s global declines is Civil Justice, largely due to continued pandemic-related delays, weakened enforcement, and rising discrimination in civil justice systems. Scores for this factor fell in 61 percent of countries this year.

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