The Freeman

Juan Faller Climaco, first elected governor of Cebu


Juan Climaco, the first elected governor of Cebu has been honored by a street named after him. It traverses the streets starting from Magallanes, Dimasalang, Borromeo, and Sanciangko.

Juan was born on December 24, 1859 in Toledo, Cebu. He was called the "Brains of the Resistance." Before the revolution against the Spaniards in Cebu, Juan was appointed as gobernador­cillo of Toledo. He was fondly called by the people of Toledo as "Tan Hantoy" short for Kapitan. When the revolution­ary junta was establishe­d by Luis Flores, he was appointed as chief of staff, while General Arcadio Molero Maxilom was the commanding general of the Army. Juan, having come from one of the wealthiest family in Cebu, supported the fight for independen­ce with his own money and resources.

Climaco was assisted by Capt. Andres Jayme, his deputy and aide. It was General Emilio Aguinaldo, the proclaimed president of the republic who promoted Juan Climaco as general. When the Filipino revolution­aries in Manila surrendere­d against the Americans, generals Climaco and Maxilom followed in surrenderi­ng to the Americans after fighting them in guerilla warfare in the mountains of Sudlon, Carmen, and Danao. The surrender happened on September 26, 1901.

In 1902, when the Americans establishe­d the civilian government in Cebu, Juan ran for governor against Julio Llorente, the appointed governor of Cebu by the Americans. Climaco defeated Llorente in the first local elections of the country held on March 4, 1902.

Two years after, Juan Climaco ran for reelection, this time his opponent was Alejandro Ruiz of the first municipal president of Argao. Climaco was supported by the following families: Jayme, Alonso (of Asturias and Balamban), Velez, Chiong Veloso (this should be distinguis­hed from the Veloso clan), while Don Alejandro was supported by Don Sergio Osmena, Florentino Rallos (who served as municipal president of Cebu), and the Sotto brothers (Vicente and Filemon). Juan was reelected as governor of Cebu in the election held on February 4, 1904.

Governor Climaco (whose grandson, Arsenio also became governor of Cebu), was appointed by William Howard Taft to be part of the St. Louis Exposition in the United States, when he left, the Americans appointed Don Sergio Osmeña as governor as his successor. Don Juan however did not reach the United States as he got sick when he arrived in Hong Kong. That appointmen­t as governor was the entry of Don Sergio in Philippine politics, as his previous positions (like provincial fiscal for Cebu and Negros) though government positions were not political in nature.

Don Juan Faller Climaco, the builder of the road from Tabunok, Talisay to Toledo died on July 16, 1907. This he did during his governorsh­ip. He married Regina Ramas. A barangay in Toledo City formerly named as "Magdugo" is named after one of the greatest heroes of Cebu.

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