[AFP News/Richele Umel - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels man a machine gun in Sultan Kudarat, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, on February 11, 2013. Muslim rebels in the Philippines said Wednesday they had protested at the arrests of four guerrillas, warning it could affect talks aimed at ending the decades-long insurgency]

MANILA, JUNE 17, 2013
(YAHOO ASIA) By Kim Arveen Patria | Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom – The Philippines remains among the “least peaceful” countries in the world, a report said, even as it jumped six places up a global peace ranking.

The country placed 129th out of 162 nations in the Global Peace Index released by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) June 11.

“Ranking among the least peaceful countries in Asia Pacific, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar all face ongoing internal civil conflict,” IEP said.

The Philippines bagged a score of 2.37 in the index, which describes peace in countries with scores close to 1 point as “very high.”

The index is calculated using scores in 22 indicators that reflect countries’ status in terms of ongoing domestic and international conflict; societal safety and security; and militarization.

“Last year saw improved prospects for peace between the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front… when a framework deal for a potential peace agreement was signed,” the report said.

“There are many obstacles to lasting peace, but negotiations appear to be on-track in 2013,” it added.

Among countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines was the third worst, next to Myanmar, which was ranked 140th, and Thailand, which took the 130th spot.

Singapore was the highest-ranked Southeast Asian country at 16th place. It was followed by Malaysia (29th), Laos (39th), Vietnam (41st), Indonesia (54th) and Cambodia (115th).

“The world has gradually become less peaceful over the past six years,” IEP said, noting that the global GPI average score has deteriorated five percent since 2008.

“The change however is not completely uniform, as 48 countries have become more peaceful while 110 have seen their score deteriorate,” it added.

Considered the most peaceful countries in the report were Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Canada, Sweden and Belgium.

At the bottom of the list meanwhile were Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia, North Korea and the Central African Republic.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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