ILOILO – For the next three years beginning this June 30, Dr. Raul Banias will be serving as mayor of the municipality of Concepcion – a position he held prior to becoming the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas during the Arroyo presidency then later provincial administrator of Iloilo under Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr.
Running under the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP–Laban) during the recent midterm elections, Banias defeated Rainier Balida of the Nationalista Party by a slim margin of 244 votes.
Banias got 10,106 votes while Balida had 9,862. A third candidate for mayor, independent Butch Ariola, got 166 votes.
“Salamat sa tanan nga nagpangamuyo kag nagsuporta sa akon. Victory is sweet. Ginpanginbudlayan ko gid,” said Banias.
The doctor said he had circled Concepcon several times during the campaign period and never got tired meeting people.
Concepcion, a third-class municipality in northern Iloilo, has a population of 43,159 people in 25 barangays, according to the 2015 census.
Some 97 kilometers north of Iloilo City, Concepcion is located in mainland Panay Island and has some 16 other smaller associated islands in the Visayan Sea.
Banias cited the people of Concepcion for being smart voters.
“Ang tawo maalam. Nagbaton sila sang kwarta pero ang gugma nila ara gihapon kay Doctor Banias,” he said, alluding to vote-buying during the elections.
Banias will be replacing outgoing mayor Milliard Villanueva who is finishing his third consecutive term on June 30. He is the incoming vice mayor.
Villanueva ran for vice mayor under Balida and defeated Banias running mate, Mark Villaruz./PN