MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine passport is as powerful as one from Ghana and Zimbabwe, according to the latest Henley Passport Index, which counts how many countries and territories a passport holder can go without a prior visa.
The Philippines ranked at the 80th spot, down from 70th-72nd in a 2018 Henley release, with visa-free access to 64 destinations out of a possible 226. The Philippine passport had visa-free access to 66 destinations last year.
"This puts it behind other Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Thailand, and even African nations like Tanzania and Uganda. In fact, based on our historical data, the Philippines has only improved by two score points in the last five years – in 2014, Filipinos had visa-free/visa on arrival access to 62 countries," Henley & Partners, which compiles the index, said in a release.
"In contrast, the Indonesian passport has improved by 13 score points in the last five years to give Indonesians visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 69 countries, from just 56 countries in 2014," it also said.
Afghanistan has the weakest passport in the world, according to the latest Henley index, with visa-free access to 25 destinations.
'Many Filipinos seeking second citizenship'
In the region, the Philippine passport ranked seventh in a list of ten countries, behind Indonesia and ahead of Cambodia. Singapore, whose citizens have passports with a global rank of 1, leads the region, followed by Malaysia, which has a global rank of 13.
Myanmar has the least powerful passport in the region, with visa-free access to just 46 countries. Laos and Vietnam share the ninth spot with visa-free access to 49 countries.
Henley & Partners added that Filipinos represented "nearly a fifth" of the residency and citizenship planning firm's business in Southeast Asia in 2018.
"We have been seeing demand from Filipinos for second citizenship from countries such as Cyprus, Malta and Grenada. And according to a Wealth-X report, Philippines’ high net worth (HNW) population is expected to grow by 9.4% growth by 2023. So we can expect more and more wealthy Filipinos looking to alternative citizenship as a way to improve their travel mobility and freedom," it also said.
Henley & Partners said their ranking is based on "exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information, and enhanced by ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department."