Actor Monsour del Rosario on Kuya Daniel Razon and His Life as a Public Servant
Sitting next to actor Dinky Doo was Monsour Del Rosario, listening attentively to Kuya Daniel Razon’s lectures in front of the Members of the Church of God International (MCGI) during a Thanksgiving celebration of the group last June 29, 2013 at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga. After he graced the stage to thank Kuya Daniel for the warm welcome, we followed him backstage to conduct a short interview.
We already knew that to simply be able to speak with him would be such a treat (as my co-interviewer and I are both fans of Monsour Del Rosario). But what we didn’t expect was to have a world-class athletic champion turned action film superstar open up his life to us as an advocate of noble things. In a crisp white shirt and classic denim jeans, he ever-so-candidly spoke about how he grew as a person – how he challenged himself to be of service to others inspired by his own children.
Now, the incumbent Councilor of Makati City dishes out how he became good friends with co-public servant Kuya Daniel Razon and how his life changed from stardom to public service.
MCGI Interviewers: “Congratulations for your win as the City Councilor of Makati. We do hope that your term will be a very fruitful one.”
Councilor Monsour Del Rosario: “Thank you.”
Interviewers: “Councilor, what is your advocacy?”
CMDR: “Ever since I became elected, I’ve always stressed on my advocacy on sports and the youth. As you know, most of the kids in this generation are not interested in sports anymore – they’re so into computers, ipads and video games but they don’t do enough sports. So I’m really pushing for sports because I wanted to help the youth later on in life as far as character-building is concerned. Learning sports will teach them how to handle defeat, how to handle success. As we all know, in life, we face a lot of problems and because of everything I’ve gone through as an athlete and everything I’ve learned as an Olympian, I was able to apply in life. That’s why I’m such an advocate of sports and the youth.”
Interviewers: “How about other projects that you have for the people of Makati?”
CMDR: “I’m also focusing on self-defense programs for our people in Makati including the the Bantay-Bayan, the Kagawad, the Kapitans (simply put) for our people who roam the Baranggays to know how to defend themselves. Then of course, I’m also very supportive of the Mayor’s health programs; especially with new hospital that we’re building. It will be the first government hospital in the Philippines to have a cancer ward and a dialysis ward. We’re really pushing for that. We’re also channelling our efforts to the education programs in Makati which is one of the best in the country – I’m very supportive of that also. Right now, I’m also looking at livelihood programs for people who are unemployed. So, all in all, I’m really focusing on those areas.”
Interviewers: “We have known you for being a Taekwondo athlete, a champion in that sport as well as an actor. What made you finally decide to enter politics?”
CMDR: “You know, back in the 90’s, even at the peak of my career as an actor, every time there was an election in Makati, I was always approached by several parties to run for office. They would always ask me to come join their group, be their Councilor – three years later, somebody else will approach me to come join their group. Six years after, same thing happens. Every election period, I get approached and someone will always come to me. But I always turn them down.
I would always say that I don’t come from a political family; I’m not exposed to that world. Even when I was young, I would only know of friends who’d run and I’ll only campaign for them. But as far as the life of a politician is, I don’t know how that world exists. I only hear stories from people or some friends of mine who are in there. But as far as my family is, we’re totally far off from that world. In fact, my family wasn’t very happy when they found out I eventually decided to run because they’re concerned, they’re worried. They say you’re getting into a snake pit! You might not be able to handle that kind of life (as a politician). They also said I might get so disgusted that I might not even want to continue with my life anymore. That’s what they were worried about. But I got married and got children. And then I recall how my friends and I kept complaining about this and that in the Philippines. I thought of my kids and told myself – maybe I can make a difference. Maybe I can do something good.”
Interviewers: “So are you sort of saying that you got sick and tired of all the problems in the country?”
CMDR: “Yes, something like that.”
Aside from the concerns that his family had about him entering the dangerous world of politics, he described the sacrifices he had to make after he became elected as a government official. He expressed that it became a challenge to be able to spend quality time with his family due to his hectic schedule. He also expressed how he missed teaching Taekwondo – roaming around the country to give seminars and conduct sports clinics were some of his passions that he truly miss now that his plate is full with social services. The thought of not being able to teach his students anymore was for him, a huge sacrifice that he had to make in order to help his constituents in Makati. But lucky enough, he’s still able to teach a few new students. He tells us that along with his own children, he’s also teaching Kuya Daniel’s kids Taekwondo.
Interviewers: “We’re delighted to know that you’re also teaching Kuya Daniel’s kids Taekwondo. Now, we know that you’re both in public service – how is he as a friend to you?”
CMDR: “I’m impressed with Kuya Daniel. The reason why I’m impressed with him and I like him is because I’ve been invited to so many religious groups and I’ve heard a lot of leaders talk; but the thing which I like about Kuya Daniel is – what he is outside in front of the whole congregation and he speaks on stage in front of everyone, that’s still who he is when I talk to him alone, in person. That’s who he is when I talk to him over lunch or dinner; whether in a private room, in his office or in public – he’s the same person. It’s not a put-on, neither a show, he’s not a fake who asks for his script or makeup. No ‘lights, camera, action’ – nothing like that. He’s unlike others who are just acting a part when they go out and stand before a multitude of people. He’s real. Isa siyang totoong tao na he’s just delivering the message of God, the Bible, to the people who have no idea where to go, who to listen to and it’s all positive.”
Another thing I like about him is that he enjoys the same things I do such as martial arts. He’s concerned about fitness – which I am also. He loves his family, he loves spending time with his sons and I see it personally and I also love spending time with my family so we’re alike in those ways. Basically, that’s it – his sincerity is not far from the way I am and that’s why I like him.”
Interviewers: “Would you consider it if Kuya Daniel offers you a hosting gig in UNTV, let’s say, a sports-oriented public service program?”
Interviewers: “How about a role in a movie?”
CMDR: “Only if it’s a good role. I don’t want my former students to see me doing bad guy roles. Especially now I have kids.”
The Philippines wouldn’t know Taekwondo the way we do now without the action star in him that brought more life and success to the film industry of the 1990’s. It was indeed, refreshing to have this conversation with someone as confident yet as humble a public servant that he is.
He had no security personnel guarding him that evening (then I thought – like he needed any, right?) and it was already around midnight; yet the gracious Councilor entertained our questions wholeheartedly.
Visit http://www.monsourdelrosario.com for more about Monsour Del Rosario. Visit http://danielrazon.com or http://facebook.com/KuyaDanielRazon for news and information about Mr. Public Service Kuya Daniel Razon.
(Interview by Cecile Vizcaya and Stacey Joyce Tee, Words by Stacey Joyce Tee)