We at Morgan Magazine have, since 2018, been keeping tabs on the Henley Passport Index, the global ranking of each country’s “passport power,” that is the degree of travel freedom these documents convey through the allowances of their bearers to as many foreign nations as possible without needing visas. High rankings in the HPI can be considered another point of pride for many countries, especially as the openness of a strong passport can be counter by anti-globalization efforts and, more recently, health and safety restrictions due to the global COVID pandemic. With regards to the Philippines’ passport, its power has dipped lower at the latest.
CNN Philippines reports that on the latest iteration of the Henley Passport Index (HPI), the Philippines has fallen lower on the ranking from the previous. In a tally of 116 nations, a Philippine passport stands at number 82, a sharp dive of five places from its last ranking of 77. At the time, that meant 67 countries and territories allowing visa-free entry to a Philippine passport-holder. At its new 82nd rank the visa-free access has been reduced to 66. Not helping is the fact that many other countries have ramped up their visa-frees dramatically, even in this time of pandemic.
According to the latest HPI released this week, two Asian countries are hogging the top three spots, one of which is a very influential neighbor of the Philippines’. In order they are: Japan (193 countries), Singapore (192) and South Korea (191), the last of which shares the bronze spot with Germany, itself a former HPI top-notcher. These are some surprising results given that those high figures seem more theoretical. Travel restrictions are still in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its alarmingly increasing variety of mutations. Japan for instance, is still not allowing foreign guests to watch the already-delayed but upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
With the Philippines ranked 82 on the HPI, the country is but 34 places away from rock bottom at 116th place, currently occupied by near-permanent last runner-up Afghanistan. Their passport has visa-free access to only 26 countries. Henley & Partners, based in the UK, has been compiling their passport index since 2006, collecting their information from the International Air Travel Association (IATA), which holds the largest and most accurate database on these things. It is too bad for the country, but there is always the next HPI in the future.
Image courtesy of Remate Online