Doctor with Patients, Flag - Singles (100,000)
Designers: Alfonso V. Divina, Danilo Cruz
Modesto O. Llamas, M.D.
First Day Covers: Manila
Philippine Medical Association - 100th
2003 is a historic year for the Philippine Medical Association
(PMA), as it observes its 1OOth Anniversary. The PMA, the umbrella
organization of the medical profession of the country, is a
non-profit organization under the Philippine laws. It has been
formed mainly to bring together the entire medical profession under
one roof, and to serve as an authoritative source of information on
health, disease, and medical practice. It is also the national
organization committed to national healthcare delivery for
the promotion of health and the prolongation of life of the people.
One hundred years ago, on September 15, 1903, the Philippine Medical
Association was founded. The establishment of the PMA was actually
an offshoot of the need of the Manila Medical Society, founded a
year earlier, to make its activities and usefulness more extensive.
To do so, it was largely felt that to affiliate with the American
Medical Association (AMA) would greatly enhance its prestige and
influence. However, the AMA rejected its application for affiliation
on the ground that the formation of a national medical association
was a prerequisite for the Manila Medical Society to affiliate.
Hence, the Philippine Island Medical Association was founded and
subsequently affiliated with the AMA.
The first group of officers elected were Dr. Joseph M. Donelan as
President; Dr. T. H. Pardo de Tavera and Dr. Jose Albert as Vice
Presidents, with Dr. William E. Musgrave as Secretary General. That
year saw the start of American role in the fledgling years of the
PMA. The last American presldent of the association was Dr. H. H.
Steinmetz during the years 1921-1922.
On July 4, 1946, the independence of the Philippines from U.S.
colonial rule saw the breaking of the affiliation of the Philippine
Island Medical Association with the American Medical Association.
Thenceforth, the association became known as the Philippine Medical
Even as early as 1927, the role of the PMA in healthcare was given
recognition by government. This was evident in the appointment of
members to the Board of Medical Examiners. In 1927, the Secretary of
Interior, upon the instruction of the Governor-General, consulted
with the PMA and requested a list of eligibles for appointment to
the Board. From then on, the government department made it a policy
to consult the national medical organization whenever a vacancy
In 1929, through the initiative of the Board of Medical Examiners
and the active participation of the PMA, an amendment of the Medical
Act (Act No.3609) was passed in the Legislature. It prohibited
foreigners from practicing medicine in the Philippines unless their
own countries allowed their Filipino counterparts to practice there.
In 1930, the Code of Ethics Commission was appointed to prepare a
Code of Medical Ethics especially adapted to the needs of the
medical profession in the Philippines.
On June 2, 1936, the PMA initiated the groundwork to upgrade the
national Committee on Health into a full-blown Department of Health
and Welfare. The association was also largely responsible for the
establishment of the state school of medicine of the University of
the Philippines, as well as the Philippine General Hospital and the
Government Health Insurance Program, in response to the urgent call
to address the health needs of the poor.
To study the claims of manufacturers on the safety and efficacy of
pharmaceutical preparations, the PMA proposed the creation of the
Food and Drug and Cosmetic Board, the forerunner of the Bureau of
Foods and Drugs.
The PMA co-founded regional medical organizations to promote
development and improvement of healthcare delivery system in the
region. These are the Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia
and Oceania (CMAAO), the Federation of Tropical Medicine (FTM), and
the Medical Associations of South East Asian Nations (MASEAN).
The PMA continues to help solve problems of maldistribution of
health providers. It launched and continues to support the project,
the Medical Assistance to Rural Indigent Areas (MARIA) to help
settle physicians in doctorless areas of the country. The San Juan
Project also provides encouragement for specialists to serve rural
and far flung areas. The People's Adoption of Total Health
Self-Sufficiency (PATHS) program to encourage local component
societies and doctors to provide clinic facilities and manpower to
serve people in depressed areas.
The voice of the PMA fearlessly rings and provides direction in
health legislation as much as it provides leadership in time of
crises, unrest, turmoil, disorder, disasters and calamities to guide
the people. Medical missions and disaster relief operations are
standard public service in time of epidemics, man made and natural
In recognition of its humanitarian mission and outstanding
performance in the healthcare delivery of the country through the
years, the PMA has been cited and conferred the most prestigious
award conferred by the Professional Regulation Commission, the "Most
Outstanding Accredited Professional Organization Award."