Why a report that lists the Philippines as ‘most dangerous’ is dubious

March 18, 2019 - 1:25 PM
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Philippines as the most dangerous country (2)
A report lists the Philippines as the most dangerous country in the world but some Filipinos are skeptical about the result. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

An article identifying the Philippines as the most dangerous country in the world raised questions on social media among those skeptical of how the research was conducted.

A Twitter user shared screenshots of an article that was published on CEOWorld Magazine, a publication for “CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, senior management executives, business leaders, and high net-worth individuals worldwide.”

The article, titled “Which Countries Are Safest, And Which Are Not In 2019?” listed Iceland, Switzerland, Finland and Portugal as the “safest” while Philippines, Yemen, Guatemala and El Salvador were among the “most dangerous” countries in the world.

However, the article was filed under the magazine’s “Global Opinions” section.

Some social media users questioned its credibility and observed that war-torn countries in the Middle East like Iran and Syria were not included in the “most dangerous” list.

Others claimed that the dismal ranking of the Philippines should not be solely blamed on President Rodrigo Duterte alone.

The article’s origins 

The article listed Global Finance Magazine as its source. It calls itself “a pioneering voice for modern finance” and is part of a leading Italian finance and lifestyle media company.

Global Finance Magazine on Jan. 23, 2019 published a report titled “World’s Safest Countries 2019” under their “Non-Economic Data” category on its “Global Data” section.

The report mentioned that it considered three factors in creating the list—war and peace, personal security and the risk of natural disaster.

“The safety score aggregates the indices from these three risks, thus presenting a comprehensive view of safety for each country. This also means that a high level of risk in one factor will have limited effect on the country’s overall ranking,” the report noted.

It also explained why the Philippines is ranked more dangerous than Yemen, a war-torn country in the Middle East that is number two on the list.

People in Yemen
A woman walks past people preparing to erect shelters after they have fled fighting in Kushar district of the northwestern province of Hajja, Yemen March 13, 2019. (Reuters/Eissa Alragehi)

“For example, 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,” the report said.

“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,” it continued.

The magazine also explained that it did not include some countries in the Middle East since the reports which its article was based on did not include it as well.

“Including countries that have incomplete or unavailable data would have led to miscalculations and entailed guesswork, which we aimed to avoid,” the magazine said.

Furthermore, it mentioned that countries ranked as the “most dangerous” have a “combination of dire threats from all three threats to safety.”

It associated poor economic development with the country’s low personal safety and security.

While the report presented explanations on its rankings, it did not particularly mention how the study was made. Methodologies, detailed analysis and discussions were not included. These are indications of credibility that normally aid readers in understanding how the conclusion came to be.

The report cited the World Economic Forum and a so-called “Global Institute for Peace” as sources but the latter does not seem to have a presence on the Web.

There is, however, an Institute for Economics and Peace, a think tank that develops measures to analyze peace in relation to its economic value. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos