By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA – The Philippines dropped one place to 137th out of 163 countries in the 2018 Global Peace Index, retaining its second to the last ranking in the Asia Pacific, behind North Korea.
The country’s score declined by 0.012 points at 2.512 and it had “suffered particularly badly as President Duterte continued his assault on alleged drug dealers and from the 5-month battle between government forces and Islamic militants who took over the city of Marawi, resulting in almost 1,200 militants, government forces and civilians killed.”
In a report by Rappler, the Philippine National Police (PNP) recorded over 4,000 deaths in police anti-drug operations since the start of the Duterte administration on June 30, 2016.
However, human rights advocates are alleging that over 20,000 people have been killed in the campaign against illegal drugs, with about 16,355 homicide cases classified by the PNP as “deaths under investigation.”
PNP’s latest data also showed that an average of four people is killed each day by riding-in-tandem shooters.
The Australia-based Institute for Economic and Peace (IEP), which conducted analyses of data from think tanks, research institutes, government and universities, said China has boosted its military and political influence in the region while neighboring countries are also increasing their military capacities.
The report also cited that the Philippines is among seven countries that recorded increased weapons imports last year. The other countries are: Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.
Meanwhile, improvements in the region were noted in the areas of “internal and external conflicts fought” and “relations with neighboring countries.”
The report also highlighted the warming ties between Beijing and Manila as President Duterte “reached an understanding with China” and as South Korean President Moon Jae-in re-established ties with China.
In a report by Rappler, overall, the study reported the global level of peace deteriorated by 0.27 percent in 2017, with 6 out of 9 countries falling in peacefulness – which marked the 4th straight year of deterioration.
In its overall ranking, Iceland topped the list of the most peaceful countries, with Europe the most peaceful region in the world, while the Middle East and north Africa were the least peaceful.
New Zealand and Austria were also hailed as the most peaceful countries while Syria, South Sudan and Iraq were deemed least peaceful.
By analyzing data from think tanks, research institutes, government and universities, the IEP also estimated that in 2017 violence cost the economy $14.8 trillion – nearly $2,000 a person.