Since the founding of Bantay.ph (a youth based civil society organization that effectively uses technology to help citizens demand good governance, was able to complete a school caravan around the Philippines) 3 years ago, majority of its activities in the fight against corruption has been rooted in civic education. According to Happy Feraren, co-founder and CEO of Bantay.ph, “If we want citizens to demand good public service and good governance they must understand how government works and know what their rights are. How can we hold government accountable when citizens don’t know what rights they are entitled to? How can citizens be critical of government service when there is no known standard of what good government service is?”
After numerous school visits and talks, the Bantay.ph team put together several learning modules under its Integrity School program. Integrity School aims to educate university students on their rights and more importantly, how they can contribute to better governance in the country.
From October 2014 to July 2015, Bantay.ph, with the support of the US Embassy Public Affairs office, launched Integrity School across different schools in the Philippines. Students from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were able to learn about Good Governance, Good Citizenship, Design and Advocacy, and Technology and Volunteerism.
To mark the culmination of this program, Bantay.ph is holding an event “Cultivate Integrity – Transforming Governance Through Citizenship” on July 27, 2015. It is an interactive workshop that brings the conversation of governance to the Filipino youth. The event is designed for educators and administrators of educational institutions that recognise their role in forming better citizens.
It is said that the practice of corruption is low risk and high reward – people can get away with plunder and bribery while enjoying the benefits of ill gotten wealth. Doing good, on the other hand, is difficult, dangerous, and not rewarding. It’s almost as if citizens are penalised for doing the right thing and following the correct processes. When we talk of creating a culture of responsible citizenship, it’s not just about voting wisely and keeping government in check. Democratic activities should be rooted in the spirit of social accountability. Instead of people asking “What’s in it for me?” the idea is to get people to start asking “What can I do to make things better?”
Cultivate Integrity – Transforming Governance Through Citizenship will be held on July 27, 2015, 1-5pm, at A Space Manila. RSVP is a must – firstname.lastname@example.org