By Genevieve Candace Poquiz

The Philippines’ economic freedom in 2020 ranked its lowest at 66th place with a rating of 7.09 since 2010, three rankings lower than 2019 with a rating of 7.34, according to a report.

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Fraser Institute, a Canadian conservative think tank, published the Economic Freedom of the World for 2020, rating 165 countries globally based on five areas: size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation.

In their report, they noted that “countries with institutions and policies more consistent with economic freedom have higher investment rates, more rapid economic growth, higher income levels, and a more rapid reduction in poverty rates.”

While higher by 0.04 points compared to 2019, the legal system and property rights — symbolic of the protection granted to persons and their property —  of the Philippines are ranked lowest among the five categories with a record of 4.44.

On the other hand, the country received its best categorical rating in sound money, 9.58, which is 0.02 points higher than 2019 and its highest since 1970. This considers the country’s money growth, inflation, and freedom to own foreign currency bank accounts.

The area of freedom to trade internationally, meanwhile, fell to 6.21 from 7.07 in 2019 due to the restrictions imposed on the borders of the Philippines.

Additionally, the size of government slipped to 7.92 from 8.16, and regulation to 7.31 from the 7.48 rating in 2019, with lower scores in the government consumption and credit market regulations, respectively.

The gender and legal rights adjustment, which “measure the extent to which women have the same level of economic freedom as men,” is also included in the index and has consistently remained at a rating of 0.82 since 2012, second only to the capital controls for being the lowest with its 0.77.

The worldwide average rating dropped to 6.84 from the 7.00 rating in 2019 due to the policy responses of each country against the coronavirus pandemic, but it is still an increase compared to the 6.59 in 2000.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Singapore remain in the top positions with the best economic freedom, even though both countries are also experiencing rating decline, as have almost all nations around the world.

Edited by Khezyll Galvan