The birth of San Francisco has always been associated with the history of the provinces of Agusan and Surigao del Sur. Before San Francisco came to what the municipality is now, it was once part of the District of Gibong which was then governed by the late Deputy Governor Francisco Cataylo. During this period, the district was composed of the barrios of Sta. Ana, Caimpugan, Ebro, Borbon, La Caridad, Prosperidad, Azpetea and Los Arcos with Sta. Ana as the site of seat of government.
Along with other barrios, Sta. Ana was comprised of several sitios in which Sitio Hagpa belonged, the site of the present day San Francisco. Hagpa was coined from a Manobo word for “swampy” as the sitio itself was once was, a small village nestled along the Adlayan River and inhabited by Manobo tribes.
The opening of the Province of Agusan del Sur to most parts of Mindanao came during the government of the late President Ramon Magsaysay who ordered the first road survey to be conducted by the Department of Highway in 1952. In the early part of 1954, road construction began paving the way for the institution of public land subdivision. The road construction also paved the way for the in-migration of different local tribes and converging along the newly constructed national highway as well as with other in-migrants coming from the provinces of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon areas.
With its humble beginning as small sitio, Hagpa was later renamed San Francisco in honor of Deputy District Governor Francisco Cataylo. In the early part of 1955, the first local government was established as San Francisco was created as a Municipal District. The late Mrs. Francisca Tesoro Samson was appointed as the first Municipal District Mayor by the then Provincial Governor Felixberto Dagani. In June 21, 1959 by virtue of Republic Act No. 2518, San Francisco was officially created into a regular municipality of the Province of Agusan. In this same year, the first local officials of the municipality were elected with the Atty. Paquito Fuentes as the first elected municipal mayor, who served for three consecutive terms of office. He was succeeded by his vice mayor, the late Cresencio Ausmolo who stayed in office by operation of law during the latter half-portion of his last term.
Eight years after its creation as a regular municipality, on June 17, 1967 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4979, the Province of Agusan was divided into the Provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, in which San Francisco was part of the latter. The continued growth of Agusan del Sur also saw the development of the municipality of San Francisco. Its growing population later paved the way for the creation of the municipality of Rosario through Republic Act No. 5760 approved by President Diosdado Macapagal on June 21, 1969, just two years after the creation of Agusan del Sur. As a result, the several barrios of San Francisco including Bayugan III, Wasi-an, Sta. Cruz, Cabawan, Cabantao, Marfil and Tagbayagan were incorporated in the newly created municipality. The barrios of Buenasuerte, Caimpogan, Pasta, Lapinigan, Ebro, New Visayas, Bayugan II, Borbon, Tagapua, Pisaan, Sta. Ana, Hubang, Alegria, San Isidro, Das-agan, Ladgadan, Lucac, Bitan-agan and Poblacion consisting of five barrios as stated in PD No. 86 dated December 31, 1972 remained to form part of the 39,253 hectare Municipality of San Francisco. The barrios of Rizal, Ormaca, Mate and Karaos were later created and added to form final 27 barangays of the present day San Francisco.
At present, Mayor Jenny D. De Asis is occupying the office of the chief executive of the Municipality of San Francisco, a position she overwhelmingly won in the May 11, 2010 elections.
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