One Meralco Foundation (OMF), the social development arm of the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), recently celebrated three milestones in its continuing mission to “spread the light” – that is, to bring social development to under-served communities – in a three-part program held Wednesday (September 2), at the Meralco Theater.
Dubbed “The Power of Dreams,” the two-hour event highlighted three notable accomplishments of the Foundation since its re-launch in 2011 namely, the electrification of more than 100 remote public schools through its school electrification program; the launch of a new advocacy pillar, energy education program; and the 5th anniversary of its MVP Academic Achievement Awards program.
ELECTRICITY FOR OFF-GRID SCHOOLS
In 2011, One Meralco Foundation launched a first-of-its-kind advocacy program which provides remote public schools around the country with an alternative source of electricity. This program, called School Electrification Program, energizes off-grid schools in isolated islands and mountain barangays by harnessing the power of the sun using photovoltaic (solar) technology. Its mission is to enable teachers in these schools to use modern teaching tools like computers and multimedia equipment to improve the learning experience of their students.
Starting with six schools in Isla Verde, Batangas, in 2011, the program energized school after school from as far north as the Calayan Islands to down south in Davao del Sur (Balut Island) in Mindanao. This year, the program energized its 100th beneficiary — the Diaz Elementary School, a school for Aeta children in Porac, Pampanga.
Through the years, the program has brought much needed electricity to these almost forgotten communities. More importantly, it has sparked hope among the hundreds of thousands of students and teachers in these schools who had been living and studying in the dark.
MOLDING RESPONSIBLE ENERGY USERS
Although electrical energy is ubiquitous in our modern era, it is a finite resource, and inefficient and irresponsible use of electricity is taking its toll on our natural resources. And so, in line with Meralco’s commitment to make the future much brighter for Filipinos by ensuring them continued safe, adequate and reliable electricity service in the years to come, One Meralco Foundation launched an advocacy to help teach energy concepts and responsible energy use in classrooms within its franchise area and beyond. OMF’s Energy Education Program will develop learning materials on energy that are aligned with the Department of Education’s new K to 12 curriculum, and design programs that would further equip educators to incorporate these concepts in classroom instructions.
During the event, the Foundation launched its “Energy Ed Learning Cards,” a set of 350 flash cards consisting of knowledge, activity and project-based cards on all things related to energy such as electricity generation, distribution, conservation and safety; force and motion; radiation; electromagnetic waves, and the like. These cards also include information that allows teachers to integrate the topic in other subjects like English, Mathematics, History, Values Education, among others. The cards were developed by 37 educators (many of whom are public school teachers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) under the supervision of the Coalition for Better Education (CBE) and the Department of Education.
RECOGNIZING EXCELLENCE AT HOME
OMF’s MVP Academic Achievement Awards (MVP AAA) was designed to recognize the academic excellence of children of rank-and-file and supervisory Meralco employees by granting them educational assistance. Since its launch in 2011, the program has produced more than 800 awardees and opened its doors to siblings of Meralco employees. The educational assistance is complemented with an MVP AAA medal, a tangible insignia for a job well done.
This year, the MVP AAA recognized 200 awardees and 42 top achievers (those who won in the previous year and continued to excel during the current school year).
“The Power of Dreams” featured spectacular performances by “El Gamma Penumbra,” the all-Filipino group which wowed TV audiences in Asia and around the world for their superb performances in the Asia’s Got Talent search in Singapore. El Gamma bagged the Grand Prize in the said competition, besting contestants from all over the region, bringing pride to the Philippines.
The a cappella champion “Acapella Go,” which also won an international a capella competition in Singapore this year, also performed during the event.
“Today’s celebration of the power dreams is also a testament of all us working together, empowering each other to move our nation forward,” Meralco President and CEO Oscar S. Reyes said in his speech.
“With Meralco’s corporate values driving our commitment to social responsibility, we have been steadfast in our mission in the Foundation to make an even greater impact in the years to come. We believe profoundly that our company’s business purpose is most powerful when it makes a meaningful contribution to our broader society. But for that work to succeed and to be sustained, we need the community’s all-out support, which can come only with understanding and commitment,” he added. – Neil Rara, OMF