The late Francisco M. Diaz does not only carry the distinction of being Saipan’s first elected mayor, he also now is the first person to have been posthumously honored with a commemorative resolution at the Saipan and Northern Islands Leadership Memorial Kiosku.
Yesterday, the 12th Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council, led by its chair Ramon B. Camacho, presented Diaz’s widow, Remedio, and the couple’s children a commemorative resolution paying special tribute to the late former mayor and “expressing special condolences and a depth of gratitude.”
The resolution stated that “Diaz’s unselfish interest and dedication in serving his community is best exemplified in his extensive involvement in the Rotary Club of Saipan and its community events; elected public official as a congressman during the Trust Territory Government; and ‘trusted adviser’ to the CNMI’s first elected governor, Carlos Camacho.”
It also said that Diaz “contributed extensively to the progressive improvement of Saipan and the Commonwealth during his tenure as the first mayor of the municipality of Saipan (1978-1982) and a member of the Saipan and Northern Islands Chalan Kanoa Kiosku Community Planning Committee in the 10th, 11th, and 12th Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council.”
Prior to becoming the island’s first-ever mayor, Diaz also served for 10 years in the Naval Administration (1952-1962) and 13 years in the Trust Territory Government (1962-1975).
He also worked as Microl Corp.’s Commercial Division manager and was later promoted as the auto dealership ombudsman, dealing with governmental and community relations.
One of Diaz’s sons, Raymond, said the family feels very honored that the municipal council recognized their dad for his accomplishments and contributions in the CNMI.
“We are very thankful to the 12th Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council,” he said.
A still grieving Remedio said her late husband’s three passions were politics, family, and sports—not necessarily in that order.
“He’s always been involved in politics but another of his passions is sports. He was once admitted to hospital but went out just to watch one his son’s games. Before died he also went to a game to see one of his grandkids play,” she said, adding that even in a wheelchair her husband would still passionately cheer for his grandchild.
His brother, retired government employee Luis Manibusan, said he never thought the municipal council would give Diaz a commemorative resolution.
“It’s the smallest [among our elected bodies] with only three members. I wish other organizations like the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, and the Saipan Mayor’s Office will bestow him this kind of honor. I just wish they could recognize that my brother is one of the islands’ pioneer leaders and an important figure in the community. They should’ve given him some kind of recognition days before his funeral. I wish all these people will come together and do that.”
Diaz died last Oct. 13 after a long bout with cirrhosis. He was 77 years old. Aside from Remedio and Raymond, he is survived by his other children: Frances J, Francisco, Juan, Frances D, Joaquin, Thomas, Anthony, Melissa, Tricia, Edward, and Deborah.