Despite some predictions stating that the trend of globalization is slowly reversing itself as more nations begin standing aloof from one another, most countries around the world are actually enjoying a greater closeness to one another. This sign can be found in the ever-increasing number of people taking international travel for tourism and business. And surprisingly, this has led to a new measure of sorts for political power: passports. The more countries that one nation’s passport is allowed to travel to without bothering with a visa, the more “powerful” it is. And the Philippines’ very own has gotten more powerful.
According to CNN Philippines, a global ranking study has just put the Philippine passport even higher up in the list of the most powerful travel documents in the world. This is recorded in the 2018 edition of the Henley Passport Index, which bases an important criterion of their ranking on the number of other nations in the world that one country’s passport allows visa-free travel access to. Last 2017 the Philippines ranked at number 75 in terms of passport power, with 61 visa-free countries. This year, we are at number 72, thanks to having 63 nations with free no-visa access.
The Henley Passport Index based its results on data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), of which 83 percent of all airlines in the world are members. The study released its results last week on January 9, and on Saturday January 13, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque expressed thanks.
“We are assuring everyone that our people at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will continue to work towards securing visa-free access of Filipinos to more countries,” Roque said in a statement where he welcomed the two-rank improvement of the Philippines’ passport power thanks to its increased visa-less destination countries.
For further reference, the 2018 Henley Index lists Germany at rank 1, the most powerful passport in the whole world, enabling bearers to enter 177 individual nations without need of a visa. At second place is a fellow Southeast Asian neighbor of the Philippines, Singapore, which grants visa-free access to 176 nations. The Philippines is actually tied in rank 72 with Indonesia “next door” to the south. On the other end of the spectrum is Afghanistan, the “weakest” passport in the world according to the index, for two years straight. Presently, only 24 countries allow an Afghan passport visa-free access.
The Passport Index was started in 2006 by Henley and Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm that has operated in its current name as early as 1997. For over a decade they have analyzed visa regulations for all countries and territories in the world that issue travelling passports.
Photo courtesy of DFA