A certain list by Global Finance marking the Philippines as the world’s most dangerous country has recently gained wide attention. It ranks the Philippines above countries like Guatemala and El Salvador, who suffer from extreme national disasters and low economic development. Even Yemen, a country which is currently a warzone, is only second to the Philippines. Meanwhile, countries such as Syria and Iraq don’t even make it onto the list. All of this prompts the question of credibility.
Global Finance justifies the ranking as such:
The Philippines is ranked least safe while Yemen is ranked second least safe. This can be attributed to the fact that the Philippines has poor scores in peace, security, and prevalence of natural disasters. Yemen’s terrible score is due to war and famine but the country has a very low risk of natural disaster. Thus, the Philippines ranks lower than Yemen even though Yemen is a warzone.
The countries that typically rank the lowest usually have a combination of dire threats from all three threats to safety. These countries are often economically developing and are located in areas with a high risk of natural disaster.
However, one of the first problems that researchers have with the list is that it makes no mention of methodology. We get no explanation beyond them citing a ‘data-driven country index’. What this data is and where it comes from is unclear. Likewise, there is no justification of the standards used in determining the list. Why peace, security, and prevalence of natural disasters should stand as the most important measures of safety goes unexplained.
The second point of contention is that this list is so different from the Institute for Economics and Peace’s global peace index report, which is actually a respected and credible list. Based on an evaluation of 23 different indicators (including political terror, deaths from internal conflict, and murder rate), the list at the end of 2018 named Syria as the most dangerous country in the world. It was followed by Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Russia.
While the Philippines is obviously a dangerous country with its violence against activists and human rights lawyers and persecution of the press, there is still the lingering doubt that it really is the most dangerous. The skepticism here is not about the reputation of the Philippines, but is about responsible reporting. Claims such as this should be backed by verifiable and explicit data. Relying on weak information is what led to a post-truth society in the first place.
What do you think about credibility of this list?