Policeman shines in Bacolod, Sona
BACOLOD CITY—He serves arrest warrants on crime suspects in Bacolod City, doing it mostly unarmed. Yet, PO3 Felipe Moncatar stood out here for having the most arrests among policemen in the city. He stood out again in President Benigno Aquino’s fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 22.
“There are also those like PO3 Felipe Moncatar, who has received countless commendations because of the growing list of criminals he has put in jail,” the President said in his speech before Congress. “I heard you’ve just apprehended another member of a syndicate,” he added.
The Negrense policeman said he considered the citation from the President during his Sona a big blessing from God.
It has been a lifelong dream for Moncatar to become a law enforcer. While growing up in a remote village of Inayawan in Cauayan town, about 119 kilometers south of Bacolod, he said he wanted to wear a police uniform because he was impressed with police work.
Life was difficult for Moncatar, the third of 10 siblings whose father was a gambler. He declined to talk about his mother.
When he was 5 years old, he left home to live with an uncle a kilometer away. “I was the boy and the maid. I did chores at the house and took care of farm animals since he sent me to school,” he said.
Moncatar said that when he was in Grade 3, he started selling fish and ice candy made of coconuts to earn extra money. “I worked hard because I wanted to live. I wanted my life to change,” he said.
He graduated from Inayawan Elementary School and St. Joseph’s High School in Cauayan. With the help of some relatives, he was able to enroll at West Negros University in Bacolod.
In exchange for free tuition, he did gardening chores, such as cutting grass on the football field and tending the plants of the university hospital, and worked at its wildlife conservation area until he obtained a degree of Bachelor of Science in Criminology.
At school, Moncatar met his wife, a working commerce student, and they were married when he was in third year. They now have two daughters, aged 10 and 2.
He said he pursued a master’s degree in public administration but was not able to take the comprehensive exams for lack of money.
Still longing to become a policeman, he went to Camp Martin Delgado, headquarters of the police regional office in Iloilo City, to try his luck. He didn’t make the first cut in April 2006.
Crime lab work
Moncatar, however, stayed on at the camp and worked as a “striker,” doing chores at the crime lab in exchange for free board and lodging while waiting for a chance to reapply.
He finally took his oath as a policeman in December 2006.
In 2007, he became a warrant operative at Police Station 6 in Bacolod and was transferred to Station 4 in 2010 where he worked as a police-community relations noncommissioned officer, as well as assistant warrant and supply officer.
Moncatar received only about P16,000 monthly as police officer 2. To augment his income, he and his wife would make and sell dumplings, steamed rice cakes and gelatins with milk and chocolate.
The policeman also makes and sells bonsai plants. He used to take landscaping jobs.
Despite his sideline, Moncatar was able to do his job diligently.
Record of arrests
Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel, Bacolod police director, said Moncatar had the highest number of arrests among warrant servers in the city. He, however, could not give the exact figure. Moncatar would be in civilian clothes so he would not be detected by crime suspects.
On July 2, Moncatar received a meritorious promotion from the President at Camp Crame in Quezon City. He was promoted to PO3 and is expected to receive a raise of about P2,000.
In a July 17 resolution, the Bacolod City Council commended Moncatar for his “desirable and distinct contribution to the police force and society, particularly to the city.” It cited his arrest of wanted criminals and members of syndicates involved in rape, murder, robbery and kidnapping.
Mayor Monico Puentevella exhorted policemen to do better than Moncatar. “There are many other heroes in the police force aside from Moncatar so I challenge them to be like him, or even better,” he said.
For Moncatar, he was merely fulfilling his lifelong dream despite being poor.
“Even if you are poor you should have a dream. You should work hard and study to get out of poverty,” he said. “I always prayed that with hard work, my life would get better.”