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Special Features | National

Lady Gaga to go on in Philippines despite rallies
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA -- Lady Gaga's Philippine concerts will go ahead as planned, organizers said Sunday, despite a series of protests from Christian groups and calls for the controversial singer to be banned.

Allan Florendo, assistant vice president of the sprawling SM Mall of Asia, whose arena will be the venue for the concerts Monday and Tuesday, said they were ready for the thousands of Gaga-fans and even any stray protesters.

"We're very ready, security-wise. We have over 300 security personnel which is in addition and coordination with the (local) police. We have at least 100 bouncers in addition to the several ushers and porters," he said.

The Asian leg of Lady Gaga's tour has seen various protests, including in Indonesia, where her June show has been denied a permit by police amid threats from Islamic hardliners.

Almost 500 Christian protesters gathered near the 20,000-seat Manila concert venue Sunday, holding lit candles under umbrellas to shield them from the rain.

"We are a peace-loving people, our objective is not to make any violence or destruction to get attention," said Orlando Cutaran, head of the Christian Professionals Evangelism Fellowship.

"We don't want to interfere in their business. We are just praying on the sides that the organizers will change their minds.

"We are just taking a stand against the blasphemous songs and videos of this Lady Gaga. We don't want young people to be influenced by this."

Lady Gaga, who arrived late Saturday, had remained in her hotel for the day.

The concert was originally scheduled for just one night but was extended to two because of overwhelming demand, said Edgar Tejerero, senior vice president of company running the arena.

The city government has already warned Lady Gaga to refrain from nudity, lewd conduct and blasphemy in the Philippines, and said inspectors will be at the venue to ensure she does not overstep the mark.