MANILA, Philippines – Postmaster general Josefina dela Cruz of Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost), denied allegations that it was unconstitutional for them to print a total of 1.2 million stamps to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).
On a report by the Philippine Star, Dela Cruz said that she was wondering why there were people making an issue over the INC stamps that came out last May 10. She also added that PHLPost did not violate the law on the separation of church and state, making emphasis that PHLPost did not print the INC stamps on the basis of religion.
“This is in a way a part of history,” she said.
Dela Cruz also noted that that before they start printing stamps, a series of evaluation takes place. A decision is approved by the stamp committee which is composed of representatives from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
“This is not an arbitrary decision. It passed through the certification of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” she said in Filipino. This meant that the INC centennial, including its rich history, was “of national historical significance,” she said.
The postmaster also pointed out that it is not the first time PHLPost featured a religious leader or a religious organization in their stamps.
Recently, they came out with a se-tenant stamp marking the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII and a separate commemorative stamp of Pope Francis.
“I don’t know why Iglesia Ni Cristo is being singled out. I don’t think there is anything unconstitutional about it,” she said.
Dela Cruz also added that the INC stamps were not for free, and in fact, added to PHLPost’s income. She added that compared to the pope stamps, people only bought a few pieces each; the INC buyers purchased in bulk.
The INC initially placed only an order for 50,000 pieces, but later doubled its order. The postmaster also revealed that the post office easily made P1 million from the 100,000 pieces deal, since each stamp costs P10.
PhilStar reported also that INC bought several stamp frames from PHLPost, wherein a big frame costs P3,000 per piece.
The postmaster added that the INC stamp was the biggest volume they have ever printed since she became postmaster general; saying that on the average, PHLPost only makes 105,000 pieces of stamps.