The College of Development Communication organized an online tribute to remember and honor the late Dr. Felix Librero, a pioneer in Development Broadcasting and Development Communication.

Held last March 25, 2021, the online tribute was attended by UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., UP Open University Chancellor Dr. Melinda Bandalaria and other UPOU officials, Dr. Librero’s family members and relatives, former colleagues, former students, and current CDC faculty, REPS, and administrative staff.

The online tribute was filled with the attendees’ fondest memories of Sir Lex as a colleague, teacher, mentor, friend, and as a father. 

Photo: UPLB Chancellor Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr giving his opening remarks during Sir Librero’s online tribute

As a pioneered development communication practitioner

Sir Lex was always remembered for his contributions to the development communication practice, especially his contributions to CDC being elevated from the College of Agriculture’s Department of Development Communication to the Institute of Development Communication, and eventually to the College of Development Communication.

Dr. Alexander Flor also shared that it is because of Sir Lex that DZLB became a KBP Golden Dove awardee. Sir Lex was instrumental in the UP system being awarded with a broadcasting franchise originally intended only for DZLB; the franchise was extended to the entire UP system. Dr. Flor also added that Sir Lex “pioneered and introduced distance education to the UP system through school on the air and his thorough instruction, research, and extension”.

According to UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr, “Sir Lex will always be remembered for all the nice things he has done in instituting change and inspiration in our beloved University, in planting seeds of inspiration, and in planting seeds of hope”. Chancellor Camacho also added that he will always remember Sir Lex for his sense of academic leadership. He says the value that Sir Lex puts into his academic work is always worthy to be emulated by former students, colleagues, CDC academic staff, and administrators. The Chancellor also said that Sir Lex has “inspired all of us to do greater things not just for the institutions that we serve, but also to be more compassionate, especially for those who are less fortunate.”

Photo: Top (L-R): Dr. Alexander G. Flor, Dr. Maria Celeste H. Cadiz; Bottom (L-R): Dr. Dr. Teresa Stuart-Guida,
Dr. Higino A. Ables

Dr. Higino A. Ables, a former colleague, also recalled an encounter with him when he was tasked to interview Sir Lex. Dr. Ables shared, “When Lex was a World Bank scholar to the University of Indiana, I was tasked to interview scholars who were sent abroad to see to it that they would return and serve their service contract. After the interview, I was quite sure that Lex would come back to Los Banos for he had been prepared for something bigger. And true enough, his major in instructional systems was the preparation for his going to the Open University.”

As an esteemed colleague

Sir Lex showed his love and concern for DZLB even if he was already working with UP Open University. Assistant Professor Ma. Teresita B. Osalla of DDBT fondly recalled Sir Lex’s interest and willingness to share his ideas to improve DZLB. She recalled, “When I was the DZLB station manager, there were occasions na nagkakausap kami, he would give suggestions for the station. Basta about DZLB maaasahan siya. He was very much willing to be part of the station. Despite his busy schedule, he can easily be invited to host a program for DZLB”. 

According to Assistant Professor Mark Lester Chico of DDBT, Sir Lex was his primary source on the paper he wrote on the history of DZLB. Chico added that through his paper, Sir Lex allowed him to “to reflect on and argue about SOA, but at the same time, reminded me that I, together with my colleagues at DDBT-CDC, now have the responsibility to rediscover SOA’s purpose.”

Photo: Dr. Maria Stella C. Tirol, Dean, College of Development Communication

CDC Dean Dr. Maria Stella C. Tirol also recalled and shared her fondest memories with Sir Lex. “I would like to reiterate that despite his early successes in his professional career, he remained down to earth. He would knock on the doors of our offices and he would sit with us to share jokes and share funny stories such that when he finishes telling them, it was already time for lunch or it was about time to go home.”

As a dependable friend

Sir Lex was remembered by former colleagues for his fuschia shirt, his checkered pants, his well-groomed hair, his “distinctive deep modulated broadcaster’s voice”, his rimmed eyeglasses, his large buckled cowboy belt, and his orange Toyota Corolla “with a backup sound that announces his departure from the Devcom premises”. 

DEC administrative assistant, Romeo C. Estimado and former DEC administrative assistant Bernabe M. Remoquillo shared their own stories of Sir Lex. Estimado recalled that Sir Lex would invite his colleagues to his house for a Christmas party. On the other hand, Remoquillo talked about Sir Lex’s fondness for new gadgets as well as for what’s popular. Remoquillo explained, “mahilig siyang sumunod sa uso. Noong nauso ang long hair, nagpa-long hair din siya. Noong na-uso ang kulot, nagpakulot din siya… updated siya palagi sa mga gadgets lalo na kapag bago ang gamit niya. Ipagmamayabang niya sa amin yan!” 

Photo: Top (L-R): Dr. Trina Leah T. Mendoza (DDBT Chair), aProf. Lynette B. Carpio-Serrano (DEC), Mr. Romeo C. Estimado (DEC); Bottom (L-R): Mr. Bernabe M. Remoquillo (DEC), aProf Ma. Teresita B. Osalla (DDBT), Dr. Serlie B. Jamias (DDJ)

Sir Lex’s former colleagues Dr. Rex Navarro, Dr. Maria Celeste Cadiz, Dr. Teresa Stuart-Guida, and former students Mr. Ronald Mangubat and Mr. Andre Santilliana shared their funny  “Original Friday Club” memories about him. Dr. Stuart-Guida in particular recalled that they had their “Friday Club” or “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” potluck, card games, joke sessions and chikahan after the work week. According to her, “we became very close then, to the point where we exchanged being kumares and kumpares, being marekoys and parekoys”.

According to Santilliana, he will always cherish and remember their Friday nights with Sir Lex, when they would come together to unwind; he said Sir Lex would spend time with them, not as a Devcom Director, not as a professor, not as a boss but as a friend and as one of the boys. 

According to Dr. Alexander Flor, Sir Lex’s legacy includes “the way he treated people, the way he accommodated his students and colleagues as his personal friends”.

As an inspiring teacher and mentor

Former students who also joined the online tribute, joyfully shared their fondest memories of him as their teacher and mentor.

Assistant Professor Lynette B. Carpio-Serrano from DEC mentioned that Sir Lex is one of her favorite professors in DevCom. Carpio-Serrano recalled that Sir Lex “can make the most technical things sound so interesting and fascinating. One of the things about Sir Lex that I like to remember is how good he was at telling stories. He inspired me and he will continue to inspire me to become a better teacher.”

Dr. Serlie B. Jamias from DDJ also shared that Sir Lex would always ask his students to write, especially his advisees. “He always told us to publish because that will kickstart our professional career. I didn’t even think of publishing until he was a member of my committee in my Master’s degree; he was not even the chair. But after my defense, he said that he will publish monograph number 11 for Devcom. My confidence got boosted. I wasn’t very confident of myself then and he really gave me that by publishing my work.” Dr. Jamias further shared that Sir Lex was her mentor not only when she was a student, but also when she became an administrator. When she would experience a crisis, she would go to Sir Lex in UPOU and ask him for advice. According to her, Sir Lex is a mentor because he is someone who is looking after you, and you know that for him, you are an important person.

Sir Lex’s former colleague, Dr. Cadiz also shared that she learned a lot from Sir Lex about the EdTech side of Educational Communication. According to her, Sir Lex was very generous with his knowledge and knowledge resources and allowed Dr. Cadiz to use his books as references for the DEVC 40 book that she wrote. Dr. Cadiz added, “When he was my MS thesis adviser, he was supportive all the way and allowed me to grow my own ideas and theorizing in Devcom toward agricultural and rural development.”

Photo: Mr. Ronald Mangubat; Dr. Kamolrat Intaratat

Mr. Ronald Mangubat, a former student, shared an encounter with Sir Lex when he was working with him in DZLB. He mentioned that he learned a lot from Sir Lex by watching him work. “He never reprimanded me nor let me feel that he was superior to me. In fact in the many times that he visited us in the station, he would always talk about his old radio days when he was just starting. He was a man full of stories, always telling us anecdotes about his student life when he was in college or when he was a graduate student taking his Ph.D. in the US.”

Dr. Theresa “Mayette” Rivera, Sir Lex’s former student, shared that Sir Lex was not her formal adviser but he helped her concretize her ideas for her thesis with his theories and guidance. Ms. Mabel Sudaprasert, also a former student, shared, “Aside from the academic side of advising, he acted as a parent and invited me to join his family during weekends in UPCO.  Akala niya taga malayong lugar ako, eh taga-Los Baños din naman talaga ako. This proved how caring he is as an adviser.”

Lastly, Dr. Chona Particia Echavez, another former student of Sir Lex, said that “his influence on mentoring and dealing with students left an imprint in my life as a teacher/adviser”.

As a loving father

Photo: Mr. Al Librero

The special tribute was also attended by his family members and relatives. Mr. Al Librero, Sir Lex’s son, mentioned that Sir Lex rarely made a habit of talking to his family members about his work, “I am really very happy that some of my family members are here right now, hearing first hand your accounts and it probably makes them realize how far-reaching his influence has been over the years.” At the end of the tribute, his son also said that all of the attendees of the online tribute represent Sir Lex’s impact not just in CDC, UPLB, and UPOU, but that there was a personal aspect to it. He thanked everyone for the friendship shared with him, their family, and with his late father. He also thanked everyone for keeping Sir Lex’s legacy alive in the years to come. (Renz Frances D. Abagat)