Wednesday, April 21

Monmon Mitra on alternative energy, agriculture and peace and order

A columnist once noted that the 2010 elections will perhaps go down in history as the one with the most number of sons, daughters and other scions of famous and illustrious political leaders running for senator.

But if you were to choose among these senatorial candidates who are at the same time political scions, whom would you vote for – those who have been in the political scene for a long time but have done practically nothing, or those who are considered political neophytes but are promising and have the potential to do more for the country?

In a Blog Watch interview last April 7, it is indeed inspiring and refreshing to watch and listen to Nacionalista Party senatorial candidate Ramon “Monmon” Mitra, the third son of the late Ramon “Monching” Mitra, Jr. who became a senator in 1971 and Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1987.

A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy and a bemedalled Former Marine Captain, Mitra is a recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Star, the second highest combat medal in the military. He takes pride in his 21-year experience in the military, private business and family-owned corporations, particularly in the fields of information technology, transportation, and agribusiness.

His military experience alone qualifies him as one of those who have amply done their share for the country but Mitra believes that there is more to be done and more to share.

Mitra shares that he is tired of war, and wants peace. “We want to fix the country in a peaceful way.”

Mitra’s three advocacies are peace and order, agriculture and alternative/cheaper energy.

According to him, there is a problem of peace and order in the country and with his military background as the ace up his sleeve, “I can do something about it,” citing he will work on military reforms, police reforms, and provision of additional benefits for the armed services.

“Kung ako ang masusunod, ang gusto kong gawin, iipunin lahat ng baril, especially the illegal fire-arms,” as he believes that “Pag walang baril, walang mababaril.”

Seeing and experiencing firsthand the effects of war, he says he will push for gun control and stronger penalties citing Malaysia’s Internal Security Act, “Na kapag nahulihan ka ng isang bala, habambuhay ka nang makukulong.”

Carrying with him the legacy of his father which was also pursued by brother Abraham who is currently on his 3rd term as Congressman of the second district of Palawan and is currently running for the office of the Governor, Mitra vows to make agricultural modernization program work for our farmers and to work on the extension of farmer’s credit, or better access to it as part of his long term solutions to achieve food security.

The third advocacy is alternative energy. He cited the potentials of Jatropha, and that if we can increase the hectarage for Jatropha and increase the blended ratio of bio-fuels, which is being done now in Brazil, “We can lessen our dependence on imported fuel.” And if this is done, “We can bring down the cost of fuel, and hopefully this will escalate to the price of electricity, price of transport, and all the basic commodities.”

Asked why he has chosen to run in the senatorial slate of the Nacionalista Party headed by Senator Manny Villar, Mitra replied that there are similarities between Senator Villar and his late father as both grew up in poverty and have the same advocacies.” He recalls his father, who ran in the 1992 presidential elections, saying, “Kailangan ang mamuno sa bayan natin ay yung nakaramdam ng hapdi ng gutom. While it didn’t happen to him (referring to his father)…Ngayon baka sakali, kay Senator Villar, mangyari naman. Bakit hindi natin subukan?” he added.

Mitra also mentioned that his two grandfathers were Nacionalista Party members, and that it is not really the first time that a Mitra is in the NacionalistaParty.

As someone who owns a chain of computer shops, his opinion was asked regarding the poll automation. Mitra says he is hopeful of the 2010 automated elections. “Napakahalaga ng eleksyon na ito. Ang Pilipinas ang puso ng demokrasya sa Asya. Lahat sa atin nakatingin. Tayo lang ang magkakaroon ng automated elections ngayon” he said, saying that there is nowhere to go but “Kailangan maging matagumpay ang eleksiyon na ito.” He also believes that in these elections, “Pantay ang laban. I’d like to think that our democracy is getting more mature.”

Even if this is the first time for Mitra to run for public office, most Filipinos believe that it is worth casting the vote for a newcomer like him, taking into consideration his advocacies and action plans once elected. Filipinos who are sick and tired of trapos will surely take him anytime, rather than vote for those who have done nothing nor proved anything while in position.


Thursday, April 8

Here Comes The Sun

It’s summertime. Activities such as swimming, sun-bathing, kite-flying, wakeboarding, outings and picnics are surely in your to-do list during these hot summer months. Yet, in the middle of these summer fun activities, it’s a must to keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.

Skin cancer is now the most frequently diagnosed cancer in American women between ages 25 and 29, and the second most frequently diagnosed, after breast cancer, among women between 30 and 34 in the United States, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.

In Asians, skin cancers are said to be less common, although according to the Singapore Cancer Society, skin cancer is the seventh most common cancer in both males and females in Singapore.

In the Philippines, skin cancer is very rare among Filipinos, per studies made by the Philippine Cancer Society.

But even then, summer or not, we must ensure that we minimize unprotected exposure to the sun and to artificial light (from tanning beds, tanning booths, and sun lamps), and avoid sunburns to reduce the chances of getting wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems.

Did you know that even if you don’t burn, just being in the sun often over time can lead to skin cancer?

The sun is most dangerous between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. But if it cannot be avoided, here are ways to protect you and your family:

Health and Diet

Get enough vitamin D3 and beta-carotene. Supplement your diet with antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium). And cut down on the fat in your diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Drink 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day for proper hydration of the body and to reduce skin dryness. Experts usually recommend drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. Don’t smoke, as smoking makes your skin older and can cause wrinkles.

Clothing and Accessories

Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and other sun-protective clothing and cap or hat when you are outside. Wear sunglasses that filter out 100% of the ultraviolet light


Do not allow babies and toddlers to spend so much time in the sun. Remind the children to apply sun protection lotion during summer activities. But remember to walk the talk, and lead by example. Children will be more receptive to it if they see that you are doing the same.

Sunscreen Products

If you have sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist on the best types of sunscreen for you.

Generally, use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. The SPF indicates the amount of protection against sunburn, which is caused mainly by UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant and check the "use by" or expiry date on the bottle, as some ingredients in sunscreen break down over time. Always apply the product to clean, dry skin 15- 30 minutes before you go into the sun so your skin has time to absorb the product, and reapply once you get outside. Make sure that you apply it liberally and reapply it every two hours, or more frequently if washed, rubbed, or sweated off. You don't need to use expensive brands - the cheaper brands are just as effective if they are used properly.

Also, remember never to use sunscreen in order to spend longer in the sun - it should only be used to increase your protection.

The next question is, what specific sunscreen product or how much SPF (sun protection factor) is right for you?

Because we have a wide variety of sunscreen products available in the market today, you might want to consider the following basic factors in choosing the appropriate product for you, according to

1. Ingredients:

Most sunscreen products are manufactured with ingredients against UVA rays, and / or UVB rays (which are in fact more harmful for sun burning than UVA rays). Consider also the actual ingredients. Are they organic/safe, or do they contain potentially harmful chemicals?

2. SPF defines the SPF number on the label of the product as “the strength of protection, and the length of time a sun-screening product will allow your skin to be in the sun without burning - relative to the length of time bare skin (or skin without the product applied) would burn or redden.”

In other words, the SPF number tells people how much longer they can last out in the sun with protection for their skin, without being burned. SPF is a standard measurement for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen. The higher the SPF of your chosen product, the higher the amount of protection it can give you.

3. Skin Type

In choosing a sunscreen product, it’s important to consider your skin type and how it reacts with exposure to the sun.

Skin care articles on recommend the following:

For children ages 6 months+, consider a product with SPF of 15 or higher to protect against both sun tanning and burning. Choose a product that lists protection against both UVA and UVB rays (also known as the "broad-spectrum"), and one that is fragrance- , preservatives- or chemical-free.

Skin Type - Very Fair: This skin type generally burns quickly. Tanning is rare. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 20 to 30.

Skin Type – Fair: This skin type almost always burns easily. Some tanning can occur, although not much. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 12 to 20.

Skin Type – Light: This skin type burns in the moderate range. Tanning is normally gradual, yielding a light brown shade. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 8 to 12.

Skin Type – Medium: This skin type burns in the minimal range. Tanning happens much of the time, yielding a moderate brown shade. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 4 to 8.

Skin Type – Dark: This skin type rarely burns. Tanning occurs big time, yielding a dark brown shade. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 2 to 4.

Skin Type – Other: This skin type includes people with moles (or history of moles), people with skin cancer in their family histories (including melanoma), and people with very fair skin and hair. According to the site articles, this is a high-risk category for health damage from too much UV exposure. Thus, choose sunscreen products with the highest SPF available, combined with light to moderate sun exposure.

In the past, people thought of sunscreen with SPF as necessary only for beach or poolside activities, and had no clue on the numbers behind it. Now, people are becoming more and more aware of products with SPF and how they should be used everyday for maximum skin protection. No matter what brand you choose, it doesn’t hurt (literally and figuratively) to make sure that the number on the label is the appropriate one for you.