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South Cotabato’s unsung hero




His name will not create a buzz the first moment you hear it.

It may also not give you goosebumps when you read it in the newspaper or a magazine.

His name Alex Labi — a T’Boli student hailing from South Cotabato who has unconsciously changed the lives of his fellows. Alex is one of the lucky ones who have benefitted from
Meralco’s primary societal programs.Like everyone else, he had ambitions and dreams to achieve. He wanted to be someone whose job is probably the hardest one to practice — a teacher.

But life has its own peculiar ways for us to achieve these dreams.

For Alex, those were the mishaps he encountered in the early days of his life as a student.

He had to devour his readings in the dark. Alex also had to bear going to and from his school without the comfort of facilities such as proper ventilation and electronic visual aids.

For a guy with such high hopes, this is something of a stumbling block to achieving that goal.


Lucky for him, Meralco found ways to help someone like Alex.

SEP came to Alex’s home
One Meralco Foundation’s school electrification program has found its way in Alex’s elementary school in South Cotabato.

Hopes were immediately fuelled as the primary distributor of electricity in the country came to give his school a source of light.

This source of light sprang Alex’s drive to continue having dreams and fulfilling it, too.

“This is what this job has taught me. Even if I have cravings for creative communications, I would still choose this line of job. Because telling stories of underserved people are much better,” told Jeffrey Tarayao, One Meralco Foundation’ President, specifying the impactful contributions Alex have given his school.

When Meralco electrified Alex’s school, the key requirement is to have someone to oversee it and make sure that it is performing well.

Without receiving orders from anyone and receiving anything, Alex promptly raised his hand and did the honors of regularly checking the system Meralco had set up in the vicinity.

“I don’t want to sound mushy but the truth is, you find heroes in very difficult situations,” Tarayao pertained his remarked to Alex.

With this little act, Alex has changed the lives of many students who, for Tamayao, is on their way to becoming another Alex.

“If you don’t have that one guy who checks it [from time to time], what happens to the other 200-something students who are studying there. The system may encounter some malfunctions,” Tarayao added.

SUPPORTING the children’s dreams is a top priority of the foundation, same with Labi’s advocacy.

Reap then sow
Everything does not happen by mere accident.

Alex encountered all of these because the Man above has been preparing him for something bigger.

He has been in the lowest of lows and darkest of days because brighter days are ahead of him.

“What we’re doing might be very significant for those who will be left or “doomed to darkness” in their entire life,” said Tarayao, who also lauded Alex for being the unsung hero of his municipality.

Today, Alex is studying in Sultan Kudarat University where he is fulfilling his dreams of becoming a teacher and later on, passing his legacy to another Alex.

Regularly, Alex visits his alma mater with the hopes that someday, he will hold a chalk and talk in front of its students.

“Last month, we went back. He is now studying as a scholar in Sultan Kudarat and he continues to go back because he wants to teach in that school.”

When the team of Tarayao had a trip of visit to South Cotabato, they were given the chance to talk to some of Alex’s previous instructors.

And they have nothing but words of praises for who they have considered as a hero.

“They were also fueled with the kind of aspirations like Alex had,” he added, saying that Alex’s passion has fueled many people to strive more in life.

“If they can produce many Alex, then there are more helping hands that may come their way,” he said.

Tarayao also recalled the times when Alex lost everything he has worked for as he is working in an arcade-style computer unit called pisonet.

“It fuels hope in people’s actions and aspirations. [It is unbelievable to see] the kind of attitude that they have to support their own because who else can support them aside from themselves,” he said.

For many years, Alex has banked on to the support his community has provided him.

It is not much but it is something from which Alex can draw courage to continue in life.

“For me, the fundamental story is still the most important,” he added, talking about the tale of Alex that should empower young guns.

“Think first of the developmental impact [of a campaign] then everything else will follow,” Tarayao noted.

According to him, a creative project is all nonsense if it is purely out of public relations purposes.

School Electrification Program may not be the most creative of a project but, indeed it has developmental impacts that will change the lives of those who benefit from it.