Republic of the Philippines - Stamps and Postal History

Christmas Seals of the Philippines



  • The Philippine Tuberculosis Society

  • Anti-TB Semi-Postal Stamps of the Philippines

  • Christmas Stamps of the Philippines



(Stamps issued by the Bureau of Posts in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of the

Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc.)



By Nemy L. Rivera


At 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 War erupted.

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 Institute” 

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..”

 (Based on data extensively drawn from the 1960 50th Anniversary issue of The Crusade,  official publication of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society. )



Articles by Nemy L. Rivera


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