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27 January 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippines is among the 10 top countries with improved performances in the list of the world’s freest economies, jumping 13 notches in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom released today by the Heritage Foundation.

The Philippines moved from 89th place in 2014 to 76th place in 2015 in the annual survey of 184 countries published since 1995 by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think-tank.

The 2015 Index, which graded economies based on 10  independent factors , showed the Philippines increasing its scores in such indicators as financial freedom (+10);  freedom from corruption (+9.9); labor freedom (+8.5); and monetary freedom (+0.8).

The Philippines scored 62.2 out of a possible 100, which is above the global and regional averages. This also allowed the Philippines to emerge in the 13th spot among 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific that were surveyed.

“This is definitely good news for the Philippines and a reflection of the positive outcome of the good governance efforts that are being undertaken by the Aquino administration,” said Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.

His sentiments were echoed by the Heritage Foundation, which attributed the positive jump of the Philippines in the index togovernment policies.

“The Philippines' performance is one of the best by far in any country where we have the Index,” said Ambassador Terry Miller, Director of the Center for International Trade and Economics at the Heritage Foundation. “It is clear that government policies are delivering substantial improvements in the economy.”

The Index measures economic freedom based on 10 quantitative and qualitative factors grouped under four broad categories or pillars—rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency, and open markets.

Based on an aggregated score, each of the 184 countries graded in the Index are classified as “free” (with a score of 80 or higher), “mostly free” (70-79.9), “moderately free” (60-69.9), “mostly unfree” (50-59.9, or “repressed” (under 50).

In previous years, the Philippines was under the “mostly unfree,” but it has returned to the “moderately free” category over the last two years during the Aquino administration.

Ambassador Cuisia expressed his appreciation for the work of the Heritage Foundation as well as his desire to explore ways of  further improving the country's future scores in property rights (0); fiscal freedom (-0.1); government spedning (-3.0); business freedom (-4.6); and trade freedom (-0.1)

“I look forward to finding ways to improve scores for indicators in which the Philippines could still improve further, especially trade freedom, fiscal freedom, and government spending,” Ambassador Cuisia added.

He thanked the Heritage Foundation for its transparency and objectivity in receiving information and data from the Embassy and other Philippine agencies.

“It is my hope that the Embassy and the Heritage Foundation continues its close collaboration to help help bring about specific reforms among Philippine government agencies and improve scores,” Ambassador Cuisia added. ###