The State of Peace Map

What a bad moment for my beloved country, the Philippines. First we missed the World’s Friendliest Country list. Now, we placed 130th among 149 countries in the just-released Global Peace Index (GPI) that ranked the world’s most peaceful nations based on the 2009 data. The Philippines, how pitiful, is in the red zone (translated as the bottom 20%). The low scores of our country reflect elevated levels of crime and internal disharmony. The index is composed of 33 qualitative and quantitative indicators including corruption, crime rates, military spending and access to primary education. [read the Corruption Perceptions Index 2009]

Here is where we stand among the bottom countries (with average scores):

125 – Honduras – 2.395
126 – Turkey – 2.420
127 – Ethiopia – 2.444
128 – India – 2.516
129 – Yemen – 2.573
130 – Philippines – 2.574
131 – Burundi – 2.577
132 – Myanmar – 2.580
133 – Sri Lanka – 2.621
134 – Lebanon – 2.639
135 – Zimbabwe – 2.678
136 – Central African Republic – 2.753
137 – Nigeria – 2.756
138 – Colombia – 2.787
139 – North Korea – 2.855
140 – Democratic Republic of the Congo – 2.925
141 – Chad – 2.964
142 – Georgia – 2.970
143 – Russia – 3.013
144 – Israel – 3.019
145 – Pakistan – 3.050
146 – Sudan – 3.125
147 – Afghanistan – 3.252
148 – Somalia – 3.390
149 – Iraq – 3.406

Here’s more. The Philippines is one of the top 5 fallers in the 2009 GPI.

1. Cyprus – Rank: 76
Change in score 2009-10: 0.276
Change in rank 2009-10: -25

2. Syria – Rank: 115
Change in score 2009-10: 0.225
Change in rank 2009-10: -18

3. Philippines – Rank: 130
Change in score 2009-10: 0.247
Change in rank 2009-10: -10

4. Georgia – Rank: 142
Change in score 2009-10: 0.234
Change in rank 2009-10: -3

5. Russia – Rank: 143
Change in score 2009-10: 0.264
Change in rank 2009-10: -2

The Philippines’ slide in the GPI rankings to 130th position echoes rises in the country’s indicators of internal conflict and crime. Several regions experienced a worsening security situation in 2009. A violent conflict between the Islamist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the government centered on Sulu, in the southwest of the Mindanao archipelago, escalated, with 163 conflict-related fatalities in 2009, compared with 82 during the previous year. The ASG continued to use kidnapping to raise its profile and hostages as bargaining tools. An ongoing contretemps between the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) and the government remained violent and peace talks, initiated by Norway, were postponed.

Perceptions of criminality in Filipino society rose to a score of 4, defined as “high levels of distrust in other citizens”. Violent crime is high in many districts and armed guards are routinely deployed to defend private property. Kidnap-for-ransom is also a high risk, especially among the ethnic-Chinese community, which is perceived as wealthy and willing to pay a ransom to secure the release of an abducted relative. The homicide rate escalated, according to UNODC, and the proportion of the population in jail ratcheted up in 2009 to a score of 3 (fairly high, by regional standards).

I selected some of the peace indicators and checked how we fared (ranked 1-5: very low-very high):

Number of external and internal conflicts fought – 3/5
Conflict is defined as a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle deaths in a year. Source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program.

Relations with neighbouring countries – 2/5
Qualitative assessment of relations with neighbouring countries.

Number of deaths from organised conflict (internal) – 3/5
Number of battle deaths from internal conflict, which is defined as a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in a year.

Political instability – 2.75/5
Qualitative assessment of the political instability within the country. It addresses the degree to which political institutions are sufficiently stable to support the needs of its citizens, businesses and overseas investors.

Potential for terriorist acts – 4/5
Qualitative assessment of the potential for terrorist acts within a country.

Number of homicides per 100,000 people – 3/5
Intentional homicide refers to death deliberately inflicted on a person by another person, including infanticide.

Likelihood of violent demonstrations – 4/5
Qualitative assessment of the likelihood of violent demonstration within the country.

Some others indicators:

Electoral process – 8.33/10
Qualitative assessment of whether elections are competitive in that electors are free to vote and are offered a range of choices. Ranked 1- 10 (very low to very high).

Functioning of government – 5/10
Qualitative assessment of whether freely elected representatives determine government policy? Is there an effective system of checks and balances on the exercise of government authority? Ranked 1- 10 (very low to very high).

Political culture – 3.13/10
Qualitative assessment of the degree of societal consensus and cohesion to underpin a stable, functioning democracy; score the level of separation of church and state. Ranked 1- 10 (very low to very high).

Civil liberties – 9.12/10
Qualitative assessment of the prevalence of civil liberties. Is there a free electronic media? Is there a free print media? Is there freedom of expression and protest? Are citizens free to form professional organisations and trade unions? Ranked 1- 10 (very low to very high).

Corruption perceptions – 2.4/10
The Corruption Perception Index draws on multiple expert opinion surveys that poll perceptions of public sector corruption scoring countries on a scale from 0 – 10, with 0 indicating high levels of perceived corruption and 10 indicating low levels of perceived corruption.

Women in parliament – 21%
Percentage of the total number of representatives in the lower house. Figures are based on information provided by national parliaments.

Freedom of the press – 38.25/100
The index measures the state of press freedom in the world, reflecting the degree of freedom journalists and news organisations enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the state to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.

Current education spending (% of GDP) – 2.53%
Public spending on education, total (% of GDP).

Adult literacy rate (% of pop over 15) – 93.6%
Data refers to national literacy estimates from censuses or surveys.

Willingness to fight – 3/5
Qualitative assessment of the willingness of citizens to fight in wars. Ranked 1- 5 (very low to very high) by EIU analysts.

Unemployment % – 7.5 %
ILO defines the unemployed as members of the economically active population who are without work but available for and seeking work, including people who have lost their jobs and those who have voluntary left work.

There were some points where we rated good enough, but there were more points where we rated way, way low.

And the most peaceful countries? New Zealand is ranked as the country most at peace for the second consecutive year, followed by Iceland and Japan.

Here are the top 10:

1 – New Zealand – 1.188
2 – Iceland – 1.212
3 – Japan – 1.247
4 – Austria – 1.290
5 – Norway – 1.322
6 – Ireland – 1.337
7 – Denmark – 1.341
7 – Luxembourg – 1.341
9 – Finland – 1.352
10 – Sweden – 1.354

It is also very surprising to know that the United States has been ranked 85 out of 149 countries.

So what is next for us? Only our elected officials will know. President Noynoy Aquino, please do something with this!