The Philippines has been named as the least peaceful Southeast Asian country in the latest Global Peace Index.
The annual study conducted by Australia-based think tank Institute for Economics and Peace, evaluates the peace and order situation in 163 countries.
The Philippines ranked at 137th in the league, 15 places below Myanmar [Burma] which was placed at 122nd, despite the ongoing troubles relating to the Rohingya minority group.
Singapore remains the most peaceful Southeast Asian country, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
In the wider Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines is only outdone by North Korea, which ranked in 150th place.
The Philippines dropped by one place this year, after being recorded as the 136th most peaceful country in 2017.
The study identified two main factors for the decline in the country’s rank: the war on drugs and the Marawi conflict.
“The Philippines suffered particularly badly as President Duterte continued his assault on alleged drug dealers and from the five-month battle between government forces and Islamic militants who took over the city of Marawi, resulting in almost 1,200 militants, government forces and civilians killed,” the report read.
On the other hand, it recognised the easing of tensions in the South China Sea, thanks to Duterte’s talks with China, as having a positive impact on peace in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The improvements in internal and external conflicts and relations with neighbouring countries reflected a calming of tensions in the South China Sea after President Duterte of the Philippines reached an understanding with China, and the rapprochement between Beijing and South Korea under new President Moon Jae-in,” the report read.
Iceland retained its rank as the most peaceful country in the world, followed by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal and Denmark.
War-ravaged Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Somalia were the countries with the lowest state of peace.