Background of the Study
“A democratic government is as good as its citizens. The effectiveness of a good government depends to a large degree in the alertness of the people to their rights and willingness to bear the obligations imposed on them.” 1
The Philippines is a democratic country. Under a democratic system of government, an individual plays an important role in his community and his country as a whole. Each and every one of us is tasked with the responsibilities of participating in its administration, contributing to its development and to serve for the common good. There are times when our expectation of a good government performance may not always be satisfied for some of public officials may not respond favourably to every people’s needs. Yet, no matter what happens, for better or for worse, everyone, both the rich and the poor, the simple man and the elite, the masses and the high officials, all are married to this great duty of steering our country straight towards national prosperity and development. Now that our country is slowly leaving its crisis-torn past and gradually rising towards economic stability, it is greatly in need than ever before, the cooperation of every concerned citizen, in order to heal its persistent socio-economic and political problems. The progress of our country cannot be achieved by the sole industry and intelligent supervision of its administrator without the support and cooperation from the people. “Citizenship is simply a legal status in a country, but democratic citizenship involves much more. It demands becoming informed about issues that affect you and participating with others in determining how society will resolve those issues.” 2
The role of citizen in our democracy does not end in our vote. [It] has never been about what can be done for us by our government. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self government3. As a democratic citizen, it is our role to participate in the development and welfare of the state. The commitment and participation of every citizen to the great adventure of national development and welfare is considered as a noble challenge. Therefore, participating in community activities and government initiated projects and involvement in public administration is an assertion of that role and noble challenge. Aruego, Aruego and Torres said:
“...every member of the state must be allowed to participate in the discussions of current issues and to express opinions in order to truly become part of the political process instead of just performing the role as a gallery of consent during elections.”4 Rouke likewise made this observation:
“It is our responsibility as a citizen to learn what current problems are, to know how to seek out the facts and discriminate among various plans and programs that were proposed and to become familiar with an end use, the means by which individual citizen participates in the solution of a social problem.”5
So it is clearly stated that we must be aware and be vigilant of the various problems confronting our community and the government plans and actions designed to address those problems. Participation is a crucial factor in the solution of community problems. We, as the basic element making up the society, serve as aggregate eyewitnesses that detect the needs of our community. A successful democratic government rests upon the foundation of active citizen participation.
However, as stated in Urtile and Vasquez’ studies:
“For a democracy to be stable and strong, it must first start at the grassroots...our youth.”6
The youth, now that it comprises a large part of our society, takes a major role in the great adventure of the Filipino people towards national prosperity, development and welfare. We now have a much empowered youth whose opinion count and whose decision can affect the way the society thinks and acts. The freedom that the young...
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