Sergio J. Montinola, Sr.

Sergio Javellana Montinola, Sr.
Papal Knight of St. Sylvester
Ateneo de Manila Grade School 1941, High School 1946, Litt B. 1950

Born in Jaro, Iloilo, on February 28, 1930, to former Secretary of Finance Aurelio Montinola, Sr. and Juanita Javellana, married to Pacita de las Alas, daughter of former Secretary of Finance Antonio de las Alas. They are blessed with three sons and six daughters.

Mr. Montinola was one of 106 who graduated from the Ateneo de Manila in the makeshift classrooms that temporarily housed the Ateneo at the convent buildings of the sisters of the Hijas de Jesus in Plaza Guipit, Sampaloc, Manila, immediately after the Battle for the liberation of Manila in 1945.

The Ateneo at Padre Faura still lay in smoldering ruins, the stench of death still hung like a pall over the devastated city of Manila when Ateneo opened at Plaza Guipit on July 15, 1945.

A year later on June 22, 1946, Ateneo High School Class of 1946 held its simple graduation ceremonies at the patched-up auditorium of Assumption College on Herran Street. High School class 1946 was the first Ateneo graduation after almost four years of Japanese occupation and symbolized the link between pre-war Ateneo and post-liberation Ateneo.

By 1947 from Plaza Guipit in Sampaloc, Ateneo managed to reopen at the ruins in Padre Faura in Quonset huts left by the US Army.

Mr. Montinola went on to enroll at Padre Faura and four years later he graduated with a Bachelor degree in Literature together with A.B. Class 1950.

After graduating from college at the Ateneo he left for the United States to take up a two-year post graduate course in Agriculture majoring in Agronomy from the University of California at Davis, California. He then spent some time in Hawaii studying sugarcane plantation techniques. Upon his return to the Philippines, he immediately proceeded to Negros Occidental to manage the family Hacienda Progreso in Isabela-Binalbagan of 400 hectares., Hacienda Fe, Nasippunan of 120 hectares in Victorias and Hacienda Tabigue of 180 hectares in Saravia all mainly planted to sugarcane .In addition he also managed the family acquired leased properties in Kabankalan for a fish pond of 200 hectares and a cattle pasture land of 1,200 hectares at Ilog, both at the southern part of Negros Occidenta. With all these extended management responsibilities he was prompted to learn flying a small aircraft (Piper Super-Cub) and acquired a private pilot’s licence from the Civilian Auronotics Association (CAA) of the government. Landing strips was built on all properties that needed his supervision and management while returning each day to his residence at Sta. Clara Subdivision, Bacolod City ,

Appalled by the condition of Hacienda Progreso farm workers in his home province, and tortured by the bad media publicity of the plight of the “sacada” migrant workers, Mr. Montinola began to provide his hacienda workers with all the modern facilities that he could muster to improve their quality of life.

Realizing that the children in his hacienda had to walk three kilometers to town of Isabela to attend school, he built a school at the hacienda for the workers’ children and requested his Isabela Parish Priest to run the school. The school was registered as a private Catholic grade school recognized by the Government. Further noticing that the children were malnourished, Mr. Montinola provided the hacienda farm children with a daily nutritious meal and medicines. Following his example, the neighboring Haciendas began to offer the same privileges to the children in their farms.

He provided lots and built houses for free and other facilities to the families residing in the hacienda farm. GOD blessed his efforts with a bountiful sugar and rice harvest and the Montinola Hacienda Progreso became the top producer in the Sigar District of Isabela-Binalbagan (BISCOM) in Negros Occidental, registering record profits for his family.

His good works did not go unnoticed as Pope Paul VI rewarded him with the title of Knight of Saint Sylvester in the Papal Court. That the Vatican knighthood was conferred on him by the most militant advocate of sugar workers’ rights in Negros Occidental, the late Bishop Amtpmop V. Fortich, was a meaningful recognition of Sergio Montionola’s shining example in that hacendero society..

Not one to rest on laurels, Mr. Montinola maintained his indefatigable efforts to lift up his people from the morass of poverty, indigence, and ignorance. He launched many innovative hacienda projects designed to increase production, improve marketing, provide resources to small farmers through multi-purpose cooperatives called Negros Producers Cooperative Marketing Association (NECOM), a Rural Bank at Kabankalan, Negros Occidental and improve their agricultural and industrial capabilities.and operations.

This embodiment of social entrepreneurship pioneered in such projects as improved underground tile drainage systems, giant sprinkler irrigation systems, mechanized planting and fertilizer application, mobilizing cooperatives, an integrated pelleted animal feed plant, paved cement feedlot and composting tank systems, and also introduced the first fully integrated solvent processing coconut oil mill plant with foreign partners (the Birlas) from India. Sir Knight Montinola brought to his family enterprizes the first commercial chicken broiler battery growing farms and processing plant of quick-frozen Cryovac packed chicken.

In the industrial sector he established the first manufacturing and assembly plant of state-of-the-art of fiberglass fishing boats in the Philippines. He also was instrumental in establishing the first dealership and distribution of German agricultural air-cooled diesel tractors and implements from Germany and sugarcane mechanized equipment from Australia, and erecting the first rice strawboard plant from England in the Philippines.

Today, he is a provincial resource speaker and consultant for the Cooperative Union of the Philippines and on integrated farm processing and cooperative ventures. He is the present Chairman of the Southwest Planners, Inc., offering services to local governments in the field of job creation and income generating projects. He is also the founder of the Golden Blue Eagle Foundation, Inc., dedicated to the Ateneo Senior Citizen Alumni Group.

To this day, he is still active in providing free meals and medicines to indigent children of hes parish Church of St. Andrew, the Apostle at Bel Air 2 Makati, and also , assisting Shendon, a registered NGO in the rehabilitation of the handicapped, the poor, and the undernourished.

Sergio Javellana Montinola Sr. Ateneo Grade School 1941, High School 1946, Litt B. 1950 is a blue-blooded Atenean and son of Mary, a Filipino entrepreneur of our age, in the true Ignatian spirit…a man for others.

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