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Phl improves to 76th in economic freedom rankings

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WASHINGTON – The Philippines registered one of the 10 best score improvements in the 2015 index of economic freedom, making its economy the 76th freest in the world.       

The country’s score increased by 2.1 points since last year with notable improvements in financial freedom, freedom from corruption and labor freedom outweighing declines in business freedom and the management of public spending, according to a report by the Heritage Foundation in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. 

The improvements came despite the devastating impact of Super Typhoon Yolanda that ripped through the central part of the country in late 2013.

The Philippines scored 62.2 out of a possible 100 points in the 2015 index and rose in the rankings to 76th from 89th place previously, further advancing into the “moderately free” category.

The index analyzed the economies of 178 countries in total, with a plethora of experts grading the nations on 10 independent factors to give the final score out of 100 points.

Perennial freest economy Hong Kong, which scored 89.6 points, headed the standings with Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland rounding out the world’s five freest economies. The United States placed 12th.

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The Philippines was ranked 13th out of 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and its overall score was above the world and regional averages.                                                                                   

Based on their scores, the countries graded in the 2015 index are classified as “free” (those with scores of 80 points or higher), “mostly free” (70-79.9 points), “moderately free” (60-69.9), “mostly unfree” (50-59.9) or “repressed” (under 50).

The report said despite notable progress by the Philippines since 2011, lingering institutional challenges will require a deeper commitment to reform.

Corruption continues to be a serious cause for concern, jeopardizing prospects for long-term economic development.

The inefficient judiciary, which remains susceptible to political interference, does not provide effective protection for property rights or strong and transparent enforcement of the law, the report said.

Since 1995 the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, has tracked the march of economic freedom around the world.

The Index of Economic Freedom rates countries in 10 categories – labor freedom, business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights and freedom from corruption – and the results are averaged to create an overall score.

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