MANILA - The Philippines has kept its place as the second least peaceful country in the Asia-Pacific region in 2017 due to the government's relentless anti-narcotics drive and the siege of Marawi, an international index showed on Wednesday.
Manila's score declined by 0.012 points at 2.512, which was second only to North Korea, the region's least peaceful state, with a score of 2.95, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
The Philippine score "suffered badly" as President Rodrigo Duterte continued his assault on alleged drug dealers and from the 5-month battle between government forces and Islamic militants who took over Marawi, the Australia-based IEP said in its Global Peace Index report.
The Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan,Papua New Guinea and Thailand also "recorded increased weapons imports in the last year" as China exerted itself militarily and politically in the region, the report said.
Overall, the Philippines is the 137th most peaceful country out of 163 states analyzed by the report. Manila's ranking is a spot below its 2017 standing.
Europe was ranked as the most peaceful region in the world, while the Middle East and north Africa were the least peaceful.
Iceland, New Zealand and Austria were hailed as the most peaceful countries while Syria, South Sudan and Iraq were deemed as the least peaceful.
By analyzing data from think tanks, research institutes, government and universities, the IEP also estimated that in 2017 violence cost the economy $14.8 trillion - nearly $2,000 a person.
With a report from Reuters