By Janvic Mateo, February 17, 2024; The Philippine Star,2018%20and%2051st%20in%202017.

Manila, Philippines — Still classified as a “flawed democracy,” the Philippines has scored and ranked lower in the 2023 Democracy Index released by London-based think tank The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on Thursday.

From 52nd in 2022, the Philippines dropped to 53rd out of 167 countries and territories included in the annual index, which measures the state of democracy across the world.

The Philippines ranked 54th in 2021, 55th in 2020, 54th in 2019, 53rd in 2018 and 51st in 2017.

EIU’s Democracy Index is based on the ratings for 60 indicators grouped in the five categories: electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties.

It classifies countries into four regime types: full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

Like in previous years, the Philippines remains a “flawed democracy,” defined as countries that have free and fair elections and where basic civil liberties are respected, although there are significant weaknesses in some aspects of democracy, including governance, political culture and participation.

In the 2023 index, the Philippines scored 6.66 out of the highest possible score of 10, down from 6.73 in 2022 but still above the 6.62 in 2021.

Across the five indicators, the country still scored the highest in electoral process and pluralism (9.17), followed by political participation (7.78), civil liberties (7.35), functioning of government (4.64) and political culture (4.38).

Compared to 2022, the country’s score only changed in functioning of government, which dropped from 5.0.

The Philippines ranked ninth among countries and territories in Asia and Australasia, and third in Southeast Asia after Malaysia (sixth in the region) and Timor Leste (eighth).

Globally, Norway remained on top with a score of 9.81, followed by New Zealand (9.61), Iceland (9.45), Sweden (9.39), Finland (9.3), Denmark (9.28), Ireland (9.19), Switzerland (9.14), Netherlands (9.0) and Taiwan (8.92).

Afghanistan remained at the bottom of the list with a score of 0.26, followed by Myanmar (0.85), North Korea (1.08), Central African Republic (1.18), Syria (1.43), Turkmenistan (1.66), Chad (1.67), Democratic Republic of Congo (1.68), Laos (1.71) and Sudan (1.76).

The latest index found that the number of “full democracies” remained at 24, while “flawed democracies” increased from 48 to 50. “Hybrid regimes” decreased from 36 to 34, while “authoritarian regimes” remained at 59.

Among those that changed categories were Greece (from flawed to full democracy), Chile (from full to flawed democracy), Papua New Guinea and Paraguay (from hybrid regime to flawed democracy), Angola (from authoritarian to hybrid regime) and Pakistan (from hybrid to authoritarian regime).

Despite the increase in the number of democracies (full and flawed), EIU noted that the global average index score fell from 5.29 in 2022 to 5.23 in 2023, a new low since the launch of the index in 2006.

The Asia and Australasia region also recorded a decline in its score, from 5.46 to 5.41, with 15 out of 28 countries and territories recording a decline and only eight an improvement.

“Asia is the most dynamic region of the world in terms of economic growth, but it continues to lag behind in terms of democratization. More than half the countries covered by the index regressed in 2023, recording a deterioration in their democracy scores,” said Joan Hoey, editor of the 2023 Democracy Index.