At a regular session presided by Manila Vice Mayor Yul Servo Nieto, the City Council of Manila, on 22 June 2023, passed a resolution accrediting the Samahang Sining at Kalinangan ng Pandacan (SSKP) Inc., the first people’s organization for arts and culture accredited by the Council.
Founded in 1996, SSKP aims to promote and celebrate religious and cultural events associated with town fiestas, as well as to strengthen the unity and bond between the Roman Catholic Church and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
Pandacan used to be described as “Little Italy” or“Little Venice” owing to its being surrounded by canals or estuaries that lead to the Pasig River. It was a center of arts and culture from the 19th to the early 20th century, playing host to numerous Italian operas and orchestral music performances.
Ladislao Bonus, the Father of the Philippine Opera, was born in Pandacan, where he established an opera company in 1887, before joining the Manila Cathedral Orchestra the following year. The place was also home to Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar, writer of the 1838 epic Florante at Laura and the Philippine equivalent of William Shakespeare.
SSKP’s accreditation is in line with the 1991 Local Government Code, which mandates the promotion by local government units of the “establishment and operation of people’s and nongovernmental organizations, to become active partners in the pursuit of local autonomy”.
The resolution was authored by Councilors Ricardo “Boy” Isip, Jr., Benny “Fog” Abante III, Carlos Catañeda, Philip Lacuna, Elmer Par, Luis Uy, and Luciano “Lou” M. Veloso. It comes on the heels of the successful holding of Rampa Manila and the revived Manila Film Festival, two events that were designed to celebrate arts and culture as one of the main attractions in the city.