PH third-happiest country in world, says Gallup poll
Malacañang on Tuesday hailed the Filipinos’ capacity to be happy even in the bleakest circumstances after an international poll ranked the Philippines third-happiest country in the world.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar also said the Duterte administration would see to it that the Filipinos’ happiness would have a strong basis by ensuring the improvement of the economy and of the government, and bringing peace and justice to the country.
Gallup International’s 41st Annual Global End of Year Survey, an opinion poll conducted among 55 countries, ranked the Philippines third-happiest country, after Fiji and Colombia.
The Philippines obtained a net score of +84 in the happiness index. It had a net score of +40 in the hope index, ranking it 9th among the optimist countries.
“Even in the bleakest and [direst] moments of our history as a nation, Filipinos have shown their immense capacity for hope and happiness,” Andanar said.
The survey findings just reaffirmed this facet of the Filipino character, he said.
“While Gallup [International] 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,” he added.
The Duterte administration will see to it that Filipinos will have a reason to be happy, Andanar said.
“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,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines’ ranking in the Gallup survey was not a surprise.
“We Filipinos are known as a happy, resilient people. We even manage to smile amid difficulties. It is therefore not surprising that we rank high in the global happiness index,” Roque said in a statement.
Andanar did not specify the bleakest and direst circumstances he mentioned, but the Philippines experienced natural calamities, including earthquakes and typhoons, in 2017.
The past year also saw local terrorists loyal to the Islamic State jihadi group in the Middle East lay siege to Marawi City, prompting President Duterte to put Mindanao under martial law.
The proclamation has been extended to last for the whole of 2018.
The five-month battle for Marawi cost 1,600 lives and reduced much of the city to rubble.
Ten million Filipinos work overseas, even in dangerous countries, as economic migrants because of lack of jobs and low wages at home.
Roque said the Philippine economy was one of the fastest-growing in the region, with the local stock market ending the last trading day of 2017 at an all-time high and “Board of Investments-approved investments are record-breaking.”
But economic growth in the Philippines does not trickle down to workers’ ranks, as wages are controlled to keep the cost of labor low and attract foreign investors.
War on drugs
In the past year, Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs continued to claim lives — the principal reason why his administration has drawn international criticism.
The death toll mounted—with police-acknowledged killings reaching 3,900 as of July 2017—and questionable deaths prompted Mr. Duterte to twice demote the Philippine National Police from the lead role in the campaign against illegal drugs.
The PNP has since been allowed to resume involvement in the drug war, but the lead role still belongs to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
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