Not much has improved in the Philippines, at least when it comes to the state of peace in the country, a recent study shows.
With a score of 2.512 and a global ranking of 137 out of 163 countries — only a notch higher than its score last year — the Philippines is placed 18th out of 19 in the region.
The only country said to be less peaceful than the Philippines is North Korea, which has a global ranking of 150.
This, despite Asia-Pacific being the third most peaceful out of nine regions in the world.
The study said that while the Philippines experienced some “very slight” improvements, thanks in part to President Rodrigo Duterte’s warming relations with China, internal conflicts contributed to the country’s low ranking.
“The Philippines suffered particularly badly as President Duterte continued his assault on alleged drug dealers and from the five-month battle between government forces and Islamic militants who took over the city of Marawi, resulting in almost 1,200 militants, government forces and civilians killed,” the report read.
Apart from the more than 1,000 killed by the Marawi battle, the entire island of Mindanao is still under martial law.
On the drug war front, latest data from the Philippine National Police show that there have been more than 4,000 deaths in police anti-drug operations since the war on drugs started in 2016. However, human rights groups like the Human Rights Watch say drug war deaths is closer to 12,000.
To be fair, there is still a sizable difference between North Korea and the Philippines’ rankings. North Korea is categorized as having a “very low” state of peace while the Philippines is only at “low.”
It’s also important to note that there are only 19 countries in the Asia-Pacific category which does not include places located in South Asia and the Middle East.
On the other end of the spectrum, New Zealand is number one in the Asia-Pacific category — and number two globally — followed by Singapore, which is the 2nd most peaceful in the region and 8th most peaceful in the world.
No surprise here, really.
First on the global list is Iceland and at the very bottom is Syria.
Th Global Peace Index 2018 was based on 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators and measures the state of peace using three thematic domains including the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation.