During the period from 1854, when the first adhesive stamps were issued, until about 1890, officials of the Philippine Government made very indiscriminate use of   adhesive stamps of all sorts.  It was a common practice to use revenue stamps as postage and as telegraph stamps, and to use postage and to use postage and telegraph stamps as revenue stamps.  Whenever a stamp was required, any stamp of the desired denomination, which might be available, would be used, irrespective of tether or not this stamp was intended for the required purpose.  These unauthorized substitutions of one class of stamp for another became most frequent during the period from 1881 to 1889.  During this period, perhaps because of a growing demand for stamps of all classes, the supplies of stamps of all sorts were frequently exhausted.  All stamps were printed in Spain and considerable delay was experienced in obtaining  additional supplies of stamps from Spain. Furthermore, local officials of the Philippines were often negligent in making requisitions for a sufficient supply of stamps.

During this period stamps of all kinds were frequently surcharged to provide a temporary substitute for stamps, which had been exhausted.  But even the surcharging of stamps required a certain amount of time and emergencies often occurred when  the   supply of one stamp or another had been exhausted, particularly in the smaller towns, and it was necessary to provide a substitute for use while awaiting the receipt of a new supply from Manila. Under such  circumstances any stamp of the desired denomination, which might be at hand, was used.

There was at least one occasion, however, when the use of postage stamps as revenue stamps, without a surcharge of any sort, was specifically authorized be decree of the Governor General and approved by the Ministry of Colonies in Madrid.  The Royal Decree of May 16, 1886, provided a new Stamp Law (Ley de Efectos Timbrados) for the Philippines.  A radical change was effected in the denominations and number of classes of stamped paper (papel sellado) and adhesive GIRO (Bills of Exchanges) stamps. 

This decree was made effective on July 1, 1886.  But a new series of stamped paper and of adhesive GIRO stamps of the denominations required by this decree did not become  available until January 1, 1888, during the eighteen months between July 1, 1886, and  January 1, 1888, it was necessary to make some temporary arrangement for enforcing the new stamp law.  The current stamped paper consisted of only five denominations:  8.00, 6.00, 1.00, 0.50, 0.25 and 0.025 pesos.

The new law required the use of twelve denominations: 20.00, 15.00, 10.00, 5.00, 3.00, 2.00, 1.00, 0.50, 0.40, 0.25, 0.10, and 0.05 pesos.  The current GIRO stamps consisted of twelve denominations:  0.20, 0.40, 0.75, 1.5, 2.25, 3.00, 3.75, 4.50, 5.25, 6.00, 6.75 and 7.50 pesos.  The new law required the use of ten denominations: 0.05, 0.10, 0.50, 1.00, 2.00, 3.00, 4.00, 5.00, 10.00 and 50.00 pesos.  In order to comply with the new law, the Governor General, on July 10, 1886, issued a decree which  authorized the affixing of postage stamps and RECIBOS Y CUENTAS stamps to the current stamped paper in order to adjust the price of the stamped paper to the requirements of the new law, and the substitution of postage stamps and Recibos y Cuentas stamps for GIRO stamps.  The decree of the Governor General was as follows:

Manila, July 10, 1886.

In conformity with that which is proposed by the Superintendency of Finance (Intendencia de Hacienda), and making use of the authority conferred upon this  Central Government by  telegram of the Ministry of Colonies of the 5th of the present month, I decree the following:

Article 1, in order to compensate for the difference between the prices of the stamped paper which now exists in circulation and the (prices) newly established by the Royal Decree and Instruction of May 16, last, there shall be utilized postage stamps and stamps for receipts, at the same time as GIRO stamps.

Article 2.  The General Administration of Finance will take care to secure compliance with this decree and will give appropriate instructions for that purpose. ……TERRERO. [5] 

The use of postage stamps on the current stamped paper in accordance with this decree will be discussed on pages ______ and ____.  The postage strips thus affixed to the stamped paper, and to ordinary paper in order to produce a provisional stamped paper, were not  surcharged. But the cancellation, which was written across the face of the stamps frequently, explained that the      postage stamps were being used as revenue stamps.

While the above decree appears to have authorized the use of postage stamps as GIRO stamps without surcharge of any sort, the writer has not seen any document   requiring  GIRO stamps to which postage stamps without a surcharge were affixed.  Very few specimens of such documents have been seen, however, and so it is quite possible that postage stamps without a surcharge may have been used as GIRO stamps.

F 0 0 T N 0 T E

[5]  Translated from the Spanish text of this decree which was published on page 57 of the Gaceta de Manila for July 13, 1886.  The Spanish text of Article 1 reads as follows:  Art. 1, Para compensar la diferencia de prios entre es papel sellado que existo hey en circulation y los nuevamente establecides por Real Decreto e Instruccion de 16 de Mayo, ultimo, se utilizaran sellos de correos y de recibos, al propio tiempo que les de giro”.  The wording of the last clause of Article 1 is somewhat ambiguous, but reference to the telegram of the Ministry of Colonies, to which reference is made in the   preamble of the decree, indicates very clearly that it was the intention to authorize the use of postage stamps and stamps for receipts as GIRO stamps.  Apparently, however, this decree was misinterpreted by those charged with its execution, because the current GIRO stamps were  actually affixed to the current stamped paper in order to adjust its price to the requirements of the new law.