Snappy and wise spruced up all words to describe a retired Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer. You will surely recognize Retired PNP General Mongcao D. Angintaopan, Sr.  even at first sight. His towering height, sharp looks, rhetorics, and decisive thoughts window a real-blood PNP general.  But who would have thought that a retired PNP Official, with completely different orientation and discipline, found himself beyond fulfilled in taking the path as a farmer?

The year 2011 completely took an entire spin. Having a spare land of property in Brgy. Rogero, Bubong, Lanao del Sur, Ex-General Angintaopan grabbed the opportunity to apply and to be part of National Power Corporation (NPC) – Watershed Management Division’s Rehabilitation Project as farmer cooperator. The project was funded through Universal Charge – Environmental Charge Plan 6, an amount set by the EPIRA[1] at equivalent to one-fourth of one centavo per kilo-watt hour (P0.0025/kWh) which funds the watershed rehabilitation and management by NPC.

Retiring meant more time for himself and his family, yet it cannot be denied though that he misses PNP and all responsibilities under his supervision. Longing to make his retirement worthwhile, farming turned out to be his new inclination. As he started to be an NPC-WMD farmer cooperator, he constantly supervises his 3-hectare farm lot and joins NPC’s regular field inspections. He found himself interested in rearing his durian plantation. NPC-WMD provided him with seedlings for planting, a decent amount per quarter to sustain the growth of his plantation, and adequate opportunities to learn like seminars and training-workshops he attended.

“Di biro talaga [mag-tanim]. Maraming mga kelangan kagaya ng fertilizer and other resources. Sometimes mahirap because there are restrictions na we consider on the field.”

General Angitaopan admits farming involves time and money that should be managed well as the plantation starts. Even with the challenges, he claimed to have the drive for growing a full-bloom 3-ha durian plantation. He is proud too that he uses organic fertilizer to maintain his farm area.

Asked if what is the formula in growing bountiful and heavenly-tasting durians?

He decisively answered, “(1) Have the dream, (2) Use available machinery/ technology, and (3) Grab every opportunity to mentally grow, never hesitate to learn.”

These are the factors that kept him productive for years now. He has a dream as a farmer: to reap abundant harvests not only for himself but also for the other farmers working in his plantation. Continually, he learns and keeps an open mind for the improvement of his plantation.

For a few years, Ret. Gen. Angintaopan used to add much fertilizer for the annual harvest and knew little about the technicalities in farming. However, his practices gradually changed as WMD advised him to lessen fertilizer application and resort to organic fertilizers to ensure the sustainability of soil production and promote ecological protection. Without hesitation, he followed these suggestions hoping that in the coming years there will be more bountiful harvests.

“I am very happy about the support I get from NAPOCOR. This is the best
project in Lanao del Sur so far.” Free seedlings, free training, and free technical support, plus a 3-year maintenance fee; no agency had been that supportive to us ever since!

The retired general acknowledges NPC’s role in giving him and other Maranao farmers the opportunity to grow and sustain a living. He shared that the Maranao community needs interventions and programs like this to improve their lives, especially those living in the far-flung areas. He believes such livelihood opportunities implemented in Lanao del Sur are advantageous and favorable in slowly encouraging the Maranaos not to resort to war and guns. But instead, embrace differences and acknowledge help from other sectors to improve their economic status and well-being.

[1] Electric Power Industry Reform Act (RA 9136)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *