The Philippines has improved its ranking but remains to be among the lowest in a global index on the rule of law, placing 90th out of 126 in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2019 released recently.
Observers said the ranking was an improvement from 88th place out of 113 countries in the 2017 to 2018 index.
Reacting to the report, Malacañang said it was pleased with the latest ranking, which is three notches up from its ranking in 2018.
The Washington-based World Justice Project defines effective rule of law as reducing corruption, combating poverty and disease and protecting people from injustice large and small, which are all embodied in the Duterte administration’s numerous programs, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 , Panelo said the Duterte administration had enhanced the social fabric; reduced inequality transformation and increased growth potential.
“The Duterte administration has been tirelessly working on these since Day One and we are pleased of (sic) the Philippines’ improved global rank in 2019, from 88 out of 113 countries in 2017-2018 to 90 out of 126 countries in 2018-2019, as a result of our initiatives. We will not rest and [will] continue exerting efforts on this aspect,” Panelo said in a statement.
But the Philippines also placed at the bottom of the roster for East Asia and the Pacific region, ranking 13th out of 15, ahead only of Myanmar and Cambodia, and ranked 14th out of 30 among lower middle income countries.
Overall, ranked at the top of the WJP Rule of Law Index 2019 were Denmark (1), Norway (2), and Finland (3). The bottom three were the Democratic Republic of the Congo (124), Cambodia (125), and Venezuela (126).
Meanwhile, East Asia and Pacific’s top performer was New Zealand (8th out of 126 countries globally), followed by Australia and Singapore.
“Effective rule of law is the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity, and peace,” William Neukom, WJP founder and CEO, said in the report.
He added: “No country has achieved a perfect realization of the rule of law. The WJP Rule of Law Index is intended to be a first step in setting benchmarks, informing reforms, stimulating programs, and deepening appreciation and understanding for the foundational importance of the rule of law.”
Panelo admitted the Executive Branch could not do it alone, and acknowledged the support of Congress for the enactment of laws, as well as the cooperation of the Judicial Branch for the timely delivery of justice under accessible and impartial dispute resolution.
“The four universal principles of the World Justice Project rule of law framework, which include accountability, just laws, open government, and accessible and impartial dispute resolution require the support of all branches of the government,” Panelo said.