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.