By Corina Oliquino i FilAm Star Correspondent

MANILA -The US State Department’s US News & World Report in partnership with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and global marketing communications company VMLY&R ranked the Philippines fiftieth best country (with an overall score of 1.7) among 80 others in its latest survey.

The global survey, which asked 21,000 people regarding on their assessment of what shapes a country, its quality of life and economic potential, was based on global perceptions that “define countries such as trade, travel and investment, and other values and attributes including human rights, gender equality, religious freedom and the environment.”

The latest rating is one-rank lower than the country’s 2018 finish at 49th, with the US State Department listing a total of 196 countries, with only 80 of them being referred to by its partner organizations.

The survey also highlighted the contribution of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), noting “their remittances, along with a flourishing tourism industry, have helped maintain a budget surplus.”

“Foreign investment in the Philippines is low but frequent devastating tsunamis and other national disasters often draw large amounts of humanitarian aid. International rights groups have criticized the president for his controversial drug war, which has resulted in thousands of deaths,” the survey added.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has ranked between 22nd to 59th among the survey’s sub-rankings based on adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power and quality of life.

Global setting
For the third consecutive year, Switzerland has maintained its number one ranking, followed by Japan, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Rounding up the top 50 are the United States in eighth place, Singapore (15), China (16), Thailand (26), Malaysia (38), Vietnam (39) and Indonesia (43).

Malacañang optimistic PH’s ranking will improve
In a report by The Philippine Star, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement that they welcome the result, while vowing to continue its policies to “improve the country’s image abroad.”

Photo: Salvador Panelo, Presidential spokesperson and Chief legal counsel. (Office of the Presidential Spokesperson Facebook Page)

“We welcome the latest US News and World Report 2019 Best Countries Ranking which puts the Philippines at Number 50, drawn from a survey of more than 21,000 global citizens,” Panelo said.

Panelo said the Duterte administration is working to improve the Philippines’ business climate and to increase investor confidence by cleansing the government of corrupt officials and streamlining the delivery of frontline services. He said environmentally sustainable tourism is also a priority of the government.

“We are therefore confident that we would continue to improve our ranking as we remain committed to institute reforms for the betterment of the Philippines that we all love,” the presidential spokesman said.

Panelo added that the Philippines scored highly in adventure at 22, open for business at 26, and quality of life at 27, noting it shows that the country is an “emerging market for business, investments and tourism.”

“The Duterte administration continuously breaks ground to nurture the country’s business climate and drive investor confidence to a higher level by cleansing the government of corrupt officials, streamlining the delivery of frontline services, among others,” Panelo said.

“Tourism, which is one of our major economic drivers, is likewise a priority with focus now given on environmental sustainability,” he added.