That’s according to the 2015 rankings by the “Global Peace Index” of 162 countries done annually since 2007 by a panel of international experts in the Institute for Economics and Peace. The Institute is considered to be the world’s leading think tank in developing metrics for analyzing peace and to quantify its economic benefits.
The overall index uses 24 indicators to measure a country’s peace index, among them, its level of safety, crime incidence, terrorism, and intensity of internal conflict. The Philippine index was low, largely dragged by the indicators for “perceptions of criminality” and “violent crime,” both of which registered a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst.
Under President Aquino, with his “daang matuwid” nonsense, the Philippine ranking has fallen steeply to 141 this year from 130 in 2010. That means countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, as well as Congo and Honduras, have been graded as more peaceful than the Philippines, according to the panel of experts. Another way of putting it: Since 2010, countries such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe have overtaken our country in the peace rankings.
In Asia-Pacific, war-ravaged countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar were regarded as more peaceful than the Philippines. The Philippines is now competing with only North Korea for the dubious distinction of being the most violent country in Asia.
The assessment isn’t at all surprising for anyone looking without yellow glasses on at the sorry state of our nation under Aquino. According to the latest statistics of the Philippine National Police’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, index crimes (murder, homicide, and robbery) for the first six months of 2015 increased 37 percent to total 26.592.
Watching TV news these days is sickening: there isn’t any news broadcast when no violent crime is reported, with street murders carried out by killers riding motorbikes’ pillions having become commonplace. Given the ubiquitousness of closed-circuit television, every TV news program now has a “CCTV” segment,” which depicts a metropolis in an unending crime wave. The rape and murder of teenaged girls no longer shock us, and journalists now seem to be routinely assassinated. Even our airports have become a dangerous place to be, with travelers so relieved when they get on their planes without being charged with carrying a goddamn bullet in their bags.
In early October, criminals who claimed to be Abu Sayyaf Islamic jihadists kidnapped two Canadian tourists and a Norwegian resort owner. The kidnappers threatened to behead their hostages in a video that had a black flag looking similar to what the barbarous ISIS in Iraq and Syria have been displaying.
Quite shockingly, Aquino doesn’t seem to care, treating it as just a crime incident.
Doesn’t he realize that this could be driving away not just tourists but foreign investors as well? If this happened in past administrations, as it did under President Arroyo’s time, a high-level crisis committee would be organized, and the rescue of the hostages would be the most important concern of the presidency.
Not under this president.
The assessments of the country by international panels obviously are so different when we don’t pay for them, as we did in the case of credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. So far, the Aquino government has spent P3 billion for these agencies’ fees and expenses (including first-class fare and accommodations for their staff) for the 12 ratings it has requested them to issue since 2011, all of which painted a rosy picture for the Philippines’ creditworthiness.
But of what use are these if in the past years interest rates in the world have been dropping, with international banks and investment funds falling over themselves in pushing cheap loans? Of what use are these expensive ratings if the Philippines is perceived as one of the two most dangerous places to live in Asia?
In another ranking system, which we don’t pay for – the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business report – the Philippines slipped six notches to 103rd from last years’ 97th slot among 189 economies, primarily because of increasing corruption and red tape.
A lot of people have been foolishly claiming that we aren’t getting enough foreign investment because of constitutional restrictions. Can’t they see that “foreign investors” are not abstract entities, but executives or capitalists (with families) who, like everyone else, value their life and limb?
Why on earth would they want to do business here when other Asian countries with lower wage rates are much safer places for them and their families to live in? Indonesia, for chrissake, was ranked 41 on the list, or 95 notches above us in the global peace index; even Vietnam stood 85 ranks above us at the 56th slot.
And next to Aquino, who is mainly accountable for the country’s slide to the lowest peace rank as the most violent place in Asia after North Korea?
Manuel Araneta Roxas II – that’s who – as he had been since September 2012 secretary of the interior and local government department. The post automatically made him chairman of the National Police Commission, and therefore, in command of the police. He has also been after all, Aquino’s sidekick in the past five years.
Where does Roxas get the audacity to think he should be president, when he has utterly failed in his task of making this country a safe place to live in, so that we have been ranked second only to North Korea as the most violent country in Asia?