The Philippines fell four spots to 67th out of 100 countries in the Chandler Good Government Index. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINES’ ranking in a global good governance index dropped four spots to 67th out of 100 countries — its worst showing in three years — as it scored lower in several indicators including leadership and foresight.

It also fared worse in financial stewardship at 0.53 from 0.54 previously, and in global influence and reputation at 0.36 from 0.38 previously, in Chandler Institute of Governance’s Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI). 

The Philippines’ score in helping people rise improved to 0.55 from 0.38, while it scored higher as an attractive marketplace to 0.56 from 0.53 last year, according to a report posted by the Chandler Institute on its website on Wednesday.

Philippines slips in 2024 Chandler Good Government IndexThe country’s scores for strong institutions and robust laws and policies were unchanged at 0.46 and 0.47.

In Southeast Asia, there was a broad sense of progress in helping people rise from 2021 to 2024, the report said.

In the helping people rise pillar, the Philippines was recognized for efforts in health along with Malaysia and for income distribution along with Vietnam. Other indicators include education, satisfaction with public services, and personal safety.

“In other words, Southeast Asian countries have made strong progress across a number of outcome-related indicators,” the report said.

“It is possible this sense of national momentum and progress enhances citizens’ satisfaction with their country’s public services and general governance.”

Singapore topped the index, followed by Denmark (2nd), Finland (3rd), Switzerland (4th), Norway (5th), Sweden (6th), Luxembourg (7th), Germany (8th), the Netherlands (9th), and Ireland (10th).

In the East and Southeast Asia region, the Philippines lagged behind Singapore, South Korea (20th), Japan (22nd), China (37th), Malaysia (39th), Indonesia (48th), Vietnam (50th) and Thailand (54th).

The Philippines was only ahead of Mongolia (77th) and Cambodia (90th).

The Philippines’ failure to improve significantly in the index against the backdrop of poor performance in leadership and foresight reflects the country’s ‘lukewarm’ government performance,” said Emy Ruth Gianan, who teaches economics at Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

“In a sense, it has been our operation for the past decades. We rely on incremental policy development, waiting for years before more progressive and inclusive laws are in place,” she said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

She cited the country’s poor accountability measures, with many Filipinos not demanding much from their local and national leaders.

“We also cannot participate in these kinds of discourse fully because we need to meet our basic needs first,” she said. “Both challenges reinforce each other, creating that room for a mid-performance in governance.”

Ms. Gianan said the Philippines, whose score in financial stewardship saw a major decline, has yet to implement “more effective tax systems that could fund much needed welfare improvement.”

“Our economic hubs, while improving, have yet to reach the level of competitiveness of our regional neighbors,” she added.

Leonardo A. Lanzona, an economics professor at Ateneo de Manila University, said the Philippines’ worsening performance in the good governance index is a manifestation of “institutional deterioration we have been feeling since the Duterte administration.”

“As both local and global conditions change, the government has not met the growing demands of people, except to offer a helping hand during periods of crisis,” he said via Messenger chat.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. was elected in 2022 as the country was recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed the Philippines in 2020 to its deepest recession in postwar history.

“There is a mistaken notion that everything should be initiated by the government, resulting in an almost full acceptance of its policies,” Mr. Lanzona said.

Just like its predecessor, the current administration, despite the abundance of technocrats, has been “unable to offer much direction and solutions to current problems and to improving institutional quality,” he said.

“In the process, corruption and poor governance continued to prevail. Thus, the Filipino has never been allowed to reach his or her full potential,” he added.

“Despite having the highest growth rate in Southeast Asia (due mainly to base effects), the Philippines continues to be a laggard in the region.”

Philippine gross domestic product expanded by 5.7% in the first quarter, slightly faster than the 5.5% in the fourth quarter of 2023 but below the government’s 6-7% target.

The Philippines’ first-quarter growth is about the same as Vietnam’s 5.6% and ahead of China’s 5.3%, Indonesia’s 5.1% and Malaysia’s 3.9%.

The Philippines aims to be an upper middle-income economy by 2027.