(Stamps issued by the
Bureau of Posts in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of
the turn of the century, when American rule was established, it was
confronted with rampant problems in public health, the most serious
among which was the unchecked prevalence of tuberculosis. In a
regional health meeting held in Manila in 1910, an alarming report
that TB mortality in the Philippines was estimated at a huge 40,000
annually shook the nation. In a rush meeting of concerned citizens
and public officials it was decided to organize the Philippine
Islands Anti-Tuberculosis Society to quickly address the problem.
Its incorporation was approved August 1910.
In October 20, 1910, the Society authorized the
issuance and sale of the 1910 Rizal seals to provide funding for its
first projects. In 1915, under its new name “The Philippine Islands
Anti-Tuberculosis Society”, it became a member of the US National
Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. Two years
later, it was appointed by the US National Association to be its
representative to sell US Red Cross, and later NTA seals in the
Philippines. This arrangement subsisted until 1941 when the Pacific
In 1934, the then Senate Pres. Manuel Quezon steered
the passage of the Sweepstakes Law that allocated 25 % of its
proceed to the Society. In 1935, when Quezon became the first
president of the Philippine Commonwealth, he authorized the Society
to make use of his birthday to general revenues. Thus came about
the Quezon’s Birthday Anti-TB Balls and the corollary issuance of
the now rare Quezon’s Birthday strip seals.
In the meantime, the Santol Sanatorium in Balic-balic
which was inaugurated in 1918, was being constantly improved, its
nipa cottages giving way to spacious concrete buildings, and
additional up-to-date equipment being installed. In 1935, in
appreciation of the “great interest shown and material help”
extended by Pres. Quezon, The Santol Sanatorium was named “Quezon
The Second World War abruptly curtailed further
activities of the Society. In January 1942, Japanese Army troops
occupied the Quezon Institute and ordered the transfer of its
medical staff and all patients to the San Juan de Dios Hospital in
Intramuros, Manila. When the American Army returned early in 1945,
the Japanese went on a rampage of killings and subjected south
Manila, particularly Intramuros to intensive indiscriminate
bombardment. Fifty-two personnel of the Society were killed,
including five doctors and ten helpers who were cruelly massacred.
Quezon Institute was stripped bare of all equipment, furniture and
records by looters. The Society’s central office in Manila suffered
the same fate.
Soon after the re-establishment of civil government
in 1945, Pres. Sergio Osmena pressed for a legislative appropriation
of P1 million to re-activate anti-TB work, of which P800,000 was
allotted as aid to the Society. The US Army returned the Quezon
Institute together with army equipment and supplies to the Society,
and the Quezon Institute was re-opened. In 1957, Pres. Ramon
Magsaysay increased the allotment of the Philippine Charity
Sweepstakes to the Society to P1 million annually.
Today, the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc.
continues to pursue its originally mandated purpose “to advance the
knowledge of tuberculosis …. combat its spread … and provide relief
to those afflicted therewith..”