Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The DC-based Heritage Foundation revealed the 16th Index of Economic Freedom that was topped again by Asia -- by perennial leaders Hongkong and Singapore.

The United States fell to 8th place.

The Philippines was ranked 109th freest in the world, a decline of 0.4 points from 2009.

This report was shared by Nick Zahn, Asian Communications Associate of the Heritage Foundation and Director of the Washington Roundtable for the Asia-Pacific Press.

The Philippine index of 56.3 (100 being the best score) lumped it in the “mostly unfree” economies category (the cluster is broken down to “free”, “mostly free”, “moderately free”, “mostly unfree” and “repressed”).

The Philippines was ranked 20th in the high-performing Asian-Pacific region.

Of the 179 countries graded this year, only seven scored 80 or higher, that would place them in the “free” category.

“Our confidence is economic freedom is being tested,” said Edwin Feulner, Heritage Foundation president.

The survey authors said, “Regrettably, attacks on the free market, fueled by the economic slowdown and the political appeal of quick interventionist remedies, gained strong momentum in some countries with far-reaching effects.”

They stressed that economies classified as “free” or “mostly free” do a “much better job promoting human development, reducing poverty and protecting the environment.”

The Philippine scored above the world average in half of the 10 economic freedoms, the index findings showed.

They noted structural reforms to improve the entrepreneurial environment and develop a stronger private sector that generates more robust job growth.

“Overall progress has been mixed but some fiscal reforms have been accomplished,” the authors said.

But they added, “The Philippines is weak in business freedom, investment freedom, property rights and freedom from corruption.”

The report said the perception of corruption is “pervasive”, adding the enforcement of anti-corruption laws is inconsistent.

They noted that the country continued to rely too much on remittances from overseas Filipinos that comprise about 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

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