PH democracy ‘very alive’ despite slight dip in global index

Published February 4, 2021, 3:02 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that Philippine democracy is very alive despite the country falling one spot lower in the global democracy index released this week.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the London-based think tank The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU’s) Democracy Index 2020 showed that the Philippines slipped from the 54th spot to the 55th out of 167 countries in 2020.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

In his Thursday presser, Roque said a one-spot decline was not a major slip, saying the Philippines was still ahead of some of its neighbors in the Southeast Asian region.

“It’s one notch lower so hindi po yan major slip, kumbaga (so it’s not really a major slip),” he said.

“We are ahead of Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos. In other words, ahead of almost all the major countries of Southeast Asia,” he added.

In the said list, only Taiwan, Malaysia, and Timor Leste are the Southeast Asian countries ahead of the Philippines.

Despite acknowledging the need to do better, Roque said democracy in the Philippines is very much alive.

“We will strive to do better. Pero (But) that ranking shows that democracy is very much alive in the Philippines,” he said.

“Our democratic institutions are working: We have an independent judiciary, an independent legislative department, and of course, and an executive department that is always the victim of criticisms,” he added.

Based on the report of the EIU, the Philippines has been suffering a decline since 2017. In 2017, the Philippines was ranked 51st, fell to the 53rd spot in 2018, and to 54th place in 2019.

The Philippines got an average score of 6.56, enough for the country to be included in the list of 52 countries with “flawed democracy” of the said report. The country got the following marks:

·       9.17 in electoral process and pluralism

·       5 in functioning government

·       4.38 in political culture

·       6.47 in civil liberties

The EIU said that countries with “flawed democracy” have free and fair elections and respect in basic civil liberties, but with problems on media freedom and minor suppression of political opposition.