THEIRS were new faces in Cebu City’s politics, but they were a big hit. This is what happened to former basketball star Dondon Hontiveros, the No. 1 councilor in the South District, and Prisca Niña Mabatid, the No. 2 councilor in the North District, during the May 13 elections.
Hontiveros got 161,347 votes from the 34 barangays in the South District, almost 5,000 more than No. 2 and two-termer Dave Tumulak. The first-time politician Hontiveros had the most votes for councilor in the history of the South District, which had almost 400,000 voters as of 2019. In 2016, Tumulak was the No. 1 councilor in the South but with only 144,727 votes.
On the other hand, Mabatid got 113,908 votes from almost 300,000 voters of the 46 barangays in the North District. Nestor Archival is the No. 1 councilor in the North District with 124,466 votes.
Mabatid is also the barangay captain of Mabolo and is a first-time city councilor.
Hontiveros said he and fellow councilor-elect Philip Zafra, who got the eighth spot in the South District with 115,292 votes, will return to the barangays to speak with residents on issues they want addressed.
“One of the first things that we will do is to consult the barangay residents,” he told SunStar Superbalita in Cebuano. “Maybe they have needs that were not addressed in the past three years, and we can look for ways to help them in any way that we can.”
The former San Miguel Beer and Alaska Aces star said Mayor-elect Edgar Labella and Vice-mayor elect Michael Rama included him in the lineup so he could help revive the sports programs in Cebu City. Among these programs are the inter-barangay basketball and volleyball tournaments.
Hontiveros also said he will study the parliamentary rules and procedures since he will become the acting vice mayor or even the acting mayor if Rama or both Rama and Labella will be on leave.
For her part, Mabatid said she will continue her health program called the Paspas card, which gives recipients free hospitalization and medicine. In case of death, a free coffin is also given.
She also wants to expand the cooperative supermarket she started in Mabolo that allows residents to buy groceries and other items at a lower price. She plans to start with the big barangays in the North District before eventually covering the whole 46 barangays.
She also wants to expand both programs in the South District.
Mabatid said that though she knew she had a good chance of winning, she was surprised that she landed at the No. 2 spot next to Archival.
“My goal was to win. But No. 2 is already a big honor because I’m a first-timer and I started my campaign on Jan. 28, so I had little exposure to the voters compared to my opponents,” said Mabatid.
Mabatid said she has no regrets in joining politics.
“I have no regrets because I won. It’s a wonderful feeling and it erases all the hardship,” said Mabatid, who will assume her post on June 30. (PAC of SuperBalita CEbu, ML)