Citizenship by Good Example
CGE (Citizenship by Good Example) takes as its prime goal the building of a genuine democracy in post-authoritarian Philippines. It places great emphasis on one’s exercise of citizenship as the first vital step en route to achieving the said goal. SLB understands that the country's current need is to imbibe a genuine sense of democracy by championing the people's causes and not the selfish causes of politicians or political dynasties. CGE takes on a cultural approach to instill this particular value by clarifying what exercising one's citizenship means.
The exercise of citizenship covers a wide range from the simplest to the most complex. We have adopted from the study made by Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, SJ the notion of “engaged citizenship” which was born out of the struggle to set free from authoritarian regime. He names the Catholic Church as the one that played a major role in the long and hard war of rebuilding Democracy. This is not only true in the Philippines but also in Eastern Europe and Latin America. If we might quote Fr. Moreno at length, it might help us to capture something of what he intends by this.
“Active participation means that people become actors… capable of deciding, acting, and claiming spaces of their own collective aspirations. Participation… goes beyond the assertion of rights and exercises of responsibilities. Indigenous peoples, when asserting their ancestral claims, do exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the land, but when they occupy the contested ancestral domain they need to participate in their scheme of development if their citizenship is to be pursued. Similarly, environmentalists… need to regenerate proactively their dwindling forests as citizens of their locality. In both cases, the citizens not only demonstrate their sense of belonging to a community, exercising their rights and responsibilities; theya are also actively engaged in the realization of their collective aspirations.”
He argues that the exercise of citizenship does not necessarily presume that genuine democracy is working, that is, the common good is promoted. A true understanding of citizenship precedes the building and rebuilding of democracy. Therefore, we always go back to the question of citizenship, its nature, goal, guiding principle and concrete expression.
Fr. Moreno finds the need to return to the very nature of citizenship. He surmises assertions in the work of T.H. Marshall (1964) that “citizenship is not merely the exercise of civil, political, and social rights. Neither is citizenship simply the legal claims of individuals on the state like a bundle of rights given to citizens by virtue of their membership in a given polity. This largely rights-based and status-oriented liberal notion of citizenship prioritizes the common good over individual rights. This communitarian view stresses the importance of socially embedded citizen and community belonging, where collective rights and individual responsibilities are exercised. The civic-republican notion of citizenship incorporates individual rights within a collective framework but stresses individual responsibilities to community life through deliberation and negotiated arrangements.”
CGE Movement aims to be a leaven of disinterested service through good examples in the hope of building and rebuilding genuine democracy in the country. It specifically targets the youth within the age bracket of 15-30 on whose hands lay the future of the Filipino nation. CGE Movement’s message is a message of hope amidst the many challenges that often befall the nation. Its mission is to create a bulwark of young and engaged citizens who are empowered, vigilant and actively discerning before taking on necessary courses of action to redeem the highly degraded integrity of the nation.
The CGE! Movement has many mediums, but one message: championing love for country, democracy, good citizenship and the spirit of volunteerism.
 Antonio F. Moreno, Church, State, and Civil Society in Postauthoritarian Philippines: Narratives of Engaged Citizenship, 1st ed. (University of Hawaii Press, 2008), p. 12-13.
 Ibid., p. 12.