MANILA – The Philippines – which had been in the global limelight amid a fierce anti-drug campaign on the Duterte administration’s watch — placed third among the ten happiest countries in the world, according to a survey on 55 countries by Gallup International covering the period of October to December last year.
Gallup’s 41st Annual Global End of Year Survey showed the Philippines with a net score of +84, below top scorer Fiji’s +92 and Colombia’s +87 and above Mexico, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India, and Argentina and the Netherlands sharing the 10th spot at +64.
Iran led the Top 10 Unhappy Countries with a net score of +5, followed by Iraq, Ukraine, Greece, Moldova, Brazil, Hong Kong, South Africa, Turkey, and Ghana at the 10th spot.
Among the Top 10 Optimists, Kosovo and the Philippines placed eighth and ninth with each having a net score of +40, above Sweden’s +38. Indonesia topped the optimists, followed by Nigeria, Fiji, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, and Albania on 7th place; while Italy led the Top 10 Pessimists, followed by Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iran, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Turkey, Republic of Korea, and Ukraine, Latvia and South Africa on the 10th spot.
In the Economic Optimism Index, the Philippines placed fifth in its economic outlook toward the new year, with a net score of +32 (optimists +42 over pessimists +10). Nigeria led the optimists with a net score of +59, followed by Vietnam’s +55, Indonesia’s +53, and India’s +46.
On the other hand, the survey noted, “Economic optimism has declined over the last months. The study shows that 28% of the world is now optimistic for the economic outlook in 2018, but the economic pessimism is 2 points higher. Net optimism (the shares of those saying the next year will be one of economic prosperity minus the shares of those who say the next year will be one of economic difficulties) has shown a downward trend +23 (at the end of 2015), +20 (at the end of 2016) to -2 (at the end of 2017).”
“About two-thirds (59%) of the surveyed world claim they are happy. This is almost 10 points lower than twelve months ago. 2017 was a tough year with terrorist attacks over almost each week and it may have influenced personal lives all around the world. Nevertheless, a majority in all polled countries are happy,” the survey said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in part about the latest poll: “(H)ope about the country’s economic prosperity and hope about the new year can be attributed to the palpable change our people have felt under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Our economy is one of the fastest growing in the region. The local stock market ended the last trading day of 2017 in an all time-high. Board of Investments-approved investments are record-breaking. The government decisively liberated Marawi.
“Our people have, indeed, appreciated these changes as reflected in the survey numbers. The challenge, therefore, is for us in the government to sustain the pace and momentum of our economic growth and bring it to the greatest number of our people.”
Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar, for his part, said: “While Gallup places the Philippines as the third happiest country in the world with a net score of +84 and two places behind Fiji, many Filipinos will agree that we are the happiest people in the world despite our circumstances.”
“In the coming months and years of this administration, we are determined to give greater substance and a more solid foundation for our people’s happiness through a booming economy, effective governance, enduring peace and justice.” — with Minde Nyl R. dela Cruz and Arjay L. Balinbin