PH among countries in Asia with weakest rule of law despite improved global standing

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The Rule of Law Index is comprised of eight factors which measure "how the rule of law is experienced by ordinary people" throughout the globe.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 1) — The Philippines ranked 90th among the 126 countries and jurisdictions surveyed by the World Justice Project for its 2019 Rule of Law Index.

The standing is a slight improvement from last year, when the Philippines ranked 93rd among 113 countries. The 2018 ranking was adjusted by the WJP, taking into consideration that the previous survey covered only 113 countries.

Still, the country landed near the bottom at 13th place out of 15 countries surveyed in the East Asia and the Pacific region, and 14th out of the 30 lower middle income countries.

"Effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and disease, and protects people form injustices large and small. It is the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity and peace- underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights," the WJP defined in its report.

The WJP said that the Philippines' improved global ranking was driven by an improvement in its "order and security" score.

"Significant trends included an improvement in 'Order and Security,'" the WJP  said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the Philippines still ranked 15 out of the 15 countries of the East Asia and the Pacific region in terms of order and security. It has a global rank of 115 out of 126 on that aspect.

The WJP also factored in constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, regulatory enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice to the Philippines' overall Rule of Law ranking.

The top three performers in the 2019 survey were the Northern European countries of Denmark, Norway and Finland respectively. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia, and Venezuela were the bottom three nations in the survey.

Global rise of Authoritarianism

The WJP said that the 2019 survey suggested a rise in authoritarianism, as the factor score for "constraints on government powers" declined in 61 countries.

"This slide in rule of law in general and checks on government powers in particular is deeply concerning," said Elizabeth Anderson, executive director of WJP, in a statement.

The think tank reported that 60 percent of countries, including the Philippines, have shown a decline in constraints on government powers in the last 4 years.

The country ranked 71st out of 126 globally, and 10th out of 15 regionally, when it came to constraints on government powers.