Malacañang yesterday lauded the country's improvement in the Heritage Foundation's 2013 Index of Economic Freedom as the country jumped 10 notches in ranking.
"The Philippines jumped 10 notches in ranking, making our economy the 97th freest in the world with an Economic Freedom Score of 58.2 in contrast to last year's ranking of 107th with a score of 57.1," said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
Among Southeast Asian nations, Lacierda said, the Philippines recorded the highest score improvement of 1.1 points"a trend of continuous growth over the past two years, bringing our country even closer to the world average score of 59.6 and above the Asia-Pacific regional average of 57.4."
In its 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, the Washington-based Heritage Foundation said the Philippines' economic freedom ranking in 2013 is the highest since 2006 when the country ranked 96th.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines ranked 17th out of 41 countries even as its overall score was slightly below the world average.
The report noted the country's improvements in investment freedom and freedom from corruption, outweighing a decline in business freedom, labor freedom and monetary freedom.
"Although the perceived level of corruption has declined in recent years, more effective anti-corruption measures need to be institutionalized," the Heritage Foundation said.
The Washington-based think tank also cited the Philippine economy, which has been on a steady path of expansion, growing at an average annual rate above 4.5 percent over the past five years.
"The government has pursued a series of legislative reforms to enhance the entrepreneurial environment and develop a stronger private sector to generate broader-based job growth," it said.
According to the foundation's index, the top 10 freest economies are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Denmark and the United States.
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines trailed Malaysia (56th) and Thailand (61st), but was ahead of Indonesia (108th) and Vietnam (140th).
Lacierda said the administration was "encouraged" with the country's improvement in the Heritage Foundation's 2013 Index of Economic Freedom.
"This prominent international evaluation shows continued improvement in the business of governing our country. We take this as an affirmation of the goals we have set out to achieve and recognition of how far we have gone to realize the potentials of our people and country," he noted.*PNA