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Opinion

EDITORIAL - Rule of law: The biggest mover

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Rule of law: The biggest mover

There’s one thing that advanced economies have in common: the rule of law prevails. This is reflected in the annual Rule of Law Index, which was launched in 2016 by the World Justice Project, a US-based non-profit organization operating worldwide to advance the rule of law.

In the latest index, the best 10 performers are Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Canada and Australia. At the bottom are Afghanistan, Cambodia and Venezuela. This year’s index is notable in that the Philippines merited special mention as “the biggest mover” as it plunged by 18 places to 88th out of 113 countries from its rank in 2016, and 13th out of 15 countries in East Asia and the Pacific.

The report said the Philippines saw substantial drops in ranking in four out of the eight factors measured in the index, placing 107th out of 113 countries in terms of order and security, 102nd in criminal justice, 99th in adherence to fundamental rights, and 59th in constraints on government powers.

The other factors used to measure adherence to the rule of law are absence of corruption, open government, regulatory enforcement and criminal justice. The index covers 113 countries and jurisdictions, based on surveys conducted in 110,000 households and 3,000 experts.

The country has had problems for a long time with the eight factors. Why is the rule of law important? The index was initiated by the American Bar Association, which counts prominent legal professionals as honorary chairpersons. The World Justice Project stresses that effective rule of law fights poverty and disease, reduces corruption and protects people from injustice.

The rule of law, the group stresses, underpins development, accountable government and respect for basic rights. It promotes peace and deprives insurgencies of several reasons to advance their causes through armed conflict. If the government is sincere in its effort to bring peace and development especially in conflict areas, it must do more to strengthen the rule of law.

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EDITORIAL

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