Raul Montemayor

Hall of FAME


National Business Manager

Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives, Inc. (FFFCI)

He came from a fairly simple-living but respected family.  His father was, himself, summa cum laude at the Ateneo, became dean of the Ateneo Law School, and distinguished himself in the field of public service.  His eldest brother was also summa cum laude, was agriculture secretary, and is now a party-list congressman.  His other siblings were no less distinguished in school and in their own chosen careers.  His mama, gentle but strong, took care of the home of this rather large brood, making sure everything was ready when they got home, having food on the table not just for the family, but for friends and classmates as well.

But genes alone do not make a man.  It takes a lot of perseverance, discipline, and determination to make it to the top.  He was a regular guy during his college life.  Like the rest of us, he played basketball in these covered courts, went on summer breaks to the Hundred Islands in his hometown, dated and even had a special friend.  But we saw how serious and diligent he was with his studies, whether it was finding the area under the curve, the limit of f of x, or the intersection of two cylinders under Marijo; or programming in Fortran using punch cards under Vic Reventar or Philosophy in Tagalog with Fr. Ferriols, and it obviously reflected in the report card.  

So it was no surprise that he graduated summa cum laude and valedictorian for class 1977.  In fact, he was the first summa and first valedictorian who came from ME. Our ME batch that graduation day was a small, diverse, and, I hazard to say, exceptional group of 18, the third smallest in ME history, which also included 3 magnas, 4 cum laudes, 5 honorable mentions, and the rest of us who completed the skewed distribution curve.  But we could sense that our summa was somehow different.  Instead of the usual valedictory address thanking the school for the education and honors he received, he challenged the institution and the graduates to be relevant to the rapidly changing environment.  Instead of reminiscing on friendships and relationships that one hopes will continue beyond school, he looked to the future and how we could all make positive contributions to make a better Philippines.

Large multinationals recruited our batch.  They paid well and promised long, rewarding careers in marketing, sales, IT, etc.  But he chose a different path.  He joined for the Federation of Free Farmers, the organization that his father founded.  No, he did not just work, because merely working connotes an passive, dispassionate activity.  Rather, he devoted his life to the federation, leading, organizing, training farmers to be better at what they do, to be more productive.  Rather than making millions for himself, he made millions of farmer lives better.  Rather than developing strategies and marketing plans for multinationals, he organized farmer cooperatives and established linkages with regional and global technical resources.  Currently, he is National Business Manager of the Free Farmers Cooperative and a member of the National Policy Board of the Federation of Free Farmers, and holds a gazillion other positions in national, regional, and even global farmer organizations.

Most of us, in our mid-life, or sometimes upon retirement, declare that it is time to give something back.  This guy started giving back the minute he stepped down from the hill.  And he has not stopped doing so.

Fellow ME alumni, ladies and gentlemen, let us welcome the first recipient of the Outstanding ME alumnus award and truly a man for others, the pride of batch 77, Raul Q. Montemayor.

By Jun Malvar