Manila, Philippines – The Philippines has the 72nd most powerful passport in the world, according to a global ranking body.
The Henley Passport Index of 2018 moved up the ranking of the country’s passport three spots higher from 2017 at 75th place. The Philippines got the new score as it now has visa-free access to 63 countries.
Last year, the country had visa-free travel to 61 countries.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque welcomed the improvement in the Philippines’ rankings.
“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 Saturday.
The results released on January 9 were based on travel data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an association composed of 83 percent of the world’s airlines.
Germany is in first place, allowing its passport holders to have access to 177 countries without the need for a visa.
Philippines’ neighbor Singapore remains in second place, with the country’s passport giving visa-free access to 176 nations.
Another Southeast Asian country, Indonesia, has the same rank as the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan remained at the bottom of the index for the second year in a row, with access to only 24 countries without visa.
The index is an initiative of Jersey-based global residence firm Henley and Partners, which started in 2006.
The rankings come as the Philippines experienced bottlenecks in passport applications. Issues over difficulty to book passport appointment schedules have flooded social media, with netizens calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs to fix its online booking system.