The Philippines advanced nine notches in the 2014 Economic Freedom index to 89th place from 97th place based on last year’s rankings, and was labeled as “moderately free.”
The rankings were based on findings by the international think tank Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, which showed that the Philippines scored 60.1 points, or 1.9 points higher compared to last year.
“[The country ranked] 1.9 points higher than last year, reflecting notable improvements in investment freedom, business freedom, monetary freedom and the control of government spending,” the Heritage Foundation said.
Also, the Philippines improved to 16th place out of 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a place higher compared to last year.
“Over the 20-year history of the Index, the Philippines’ economic freedom score has advanced by 5.1 points. Improvements in seven of the 10 economic freedoms, including significant gains in trade freedom, investment freedom and freedom from corruption, have been partially offset by a deterioration in property rights,” the index stated.
The Heritage Foundation also said that the Philippines grew by “around 5 percent over the past five years” in the rankings, which was attributed to legislative reforms that enhanced the investment environment and provided incentives for private sector job growth.
But the Heritage Foundation pointed out that, “Despite progress, lingering institutional challenges will not be overcome without a deeper commitment to reform. Although the perceived level of corruption has declined, more effective anti-corruption measures need to be firmly institutionalized.”
For his part, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said that the Aquino administration’s practice of “good governance” by addressing “problems of corruption, fiscal mismanagement and inefficient regulatory processes” is being noticed by investors.
He said that this makes the country “more attractive” to local and foreign investors.
“Our challenge now is to continue our improvements and to ensure our recent economic growth and inclusive development remain beyond President Aquino’s term ending in 2016. We are now focusing on legislating these reforms to ensure the dividends of good governance will be here to stay,” the Finance chief said.