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Good Governance, Social Quality, and Active Citizenship

Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines

Alex B. Brillantes and Maricel T. Fernandez

Keywords: civil society; citizenship; Gawad Kalinga; good governance; Philippines; social quality

This article discusses how the Gawad Kalinga movement in the Philippines has operationalized good governance among its communities. This movement has not only provided opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between and among the three major governance actors, governments, business, and civil society, but more important, provided a framework for active citizen engagement in the process of improving their quality of life. Citizen participation is central not only in the theory of social quality but also in good governance. The paper argues argues that in order for reforms to be successful and sustainable, institutional reforms and active citizen engagement are necessary. These reforms are key to addressing some basic problems facing nations today, an alarming decline in trust in institutions and corruption. This paper is divided into three parts. The first part discusses good governance approaches and reform of public administration in relation to social quality theory. The second part discusses the tenets of citizenship and civil organization leadership within the context of good governance. The third part focuses on an emerging citizens’ movement in the Philippines—the Gawad Kalinga movement, which highlights the aspects of citizen engagement. The last part contains some concluding remarks drawn from the Gawad Kalinga experience as applied governance reform, and its implications for enhancing social quality.

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