Philippines still mired as ‘least peaceful’ country


gpiIsn’t it ironic indeed that for a country that has become the envy of many Asian countries for having the fastest growing economy for the first quarter of 2013, it still continues to remain in the list of the ‘least peaceful’ countries in the world?

A few months ago Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning of the Philippines Arsenio Balisacan confirmed the report issued by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) that the country’s gross domestic product grew by 7.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013, faster than China (7.7 percent), Indonesia (6 percent), Thailand (5.3 percent), and Vietnam (4.9 percent).

NSCB attributed the 7.8 percent increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country to the strong performance of the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as the increase in government and consumer spending.

Yet, in a recent Global Peace Index released by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in June 11, the Philippines ranked 129th out of 162 nations in the list of ‘least peaceful’ countries in the world.

One can’t simply reconcile the fact that if a country is seen to be having the fastest growing economy, wouldn’t being considered, at the same time, as ‘least peaceful’ adversely affect the economic growth of the country?

Among countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines was seen to be the third worst, next to Myanmar, which was ranked 140th, and Thailand, which took the 130th spot.

The index is calculated using scores in 22 indicators that reflect countries’ status in terms of ongoing domestic and international conflict; societal safety and security; and militarization.

The Philippines bagged a score of 2.37 in the index, which describes peace in countries with scores close to 1 point as “very high.”

Now, how could it be that high if the country’s domestic problems with insurgencies are isolated? Besides, whatever internal conflict the country has is being taken cared of as peace negotiation is being established.

It is not as if there is war going on in the country’s capital or turmoil is happening in major cities to make the country ‘least peaceful’.

The fact that the economy is growing at an unprecedented rate only means that there is peace and stability in the country.

Singapore was the highest-ranked Southeast Asian country at 16th place. It was followed by Malaysia (29th), Laos (39th), Vietnam (41st), Indonesia (54th) and Cambodia (115th).

Considered the most peaceful countries in the report were Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Canada, Sweden and Belgium.

At the bottom of the list meanwhile were Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia, North Korea and the Central African Republic.


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