MAY 18,
By Perseus Echeminada and AP - The Pasay City government will deploy personnel to monitor the two-day show of US pop star Lady Gaga at the SM Mall of Asia Arena next week to ensure that rules stipulated in the concert permit will be observed.

Mayor Antonino Calixto said the move was in res-ponse to a warning raised in a letter by former Manila mayor Lito Atienza and lawyer Romulo Macalintal that Lady Gaga may be penalized or even arrested if she sings her controversial song “Judas,” which they believe mocks Jesus Christ.

“Although we respect artistic and musical expressions, I won’t allow anyone or any group to provide acts which may be questionable in a way at any venue under my jurisdiction. We reminded the producers of Lady Gaga’s concert that the show and the event as a whole shall not exhibit any nudity or lewd conduct which may be offensive to morals and good customs,” Calixto said.

“I have instructed all the concerned departments of the city government to closely monitor the two-night event. I formed an inspection team headed by our legal officer to monitor the concert,” Calixto said.

About 200 Christian youths marched in Manila for a second straight day yesterday, holding placards urging the pop singer to “respect our faith, stop the blasphemy.”

Riot police stopped protesters about a kilometer away from the concert venue. Phalanxes of security guards stood on alert in front of the arena.

The Biblemode Youth Philippines members plan to hold a vigil starting today near the concert venue. They said they are offended by Lady Gaga’s music, particularly her song “Judas.”

“She declared a distorted view toward Jesus Christ and for us Biblical Christians it is offensive,” said Ruben Abante, a protest leader. “Her music and everything about her is different from what our values are.”

Organizers from Ovation Productions said they respect the beliefs of critics but promised that the performances “will not pose a threat to their sense of morality and conduct.”

Under Philippine law, people who make offensive remarks on another’s race or religion can be sentenced to up to six years in prison, although no one has been convicted recently.


Lady Gaga arrives in Manila Lady Gaga arrives in Manila By: Tina Santos Associated Press, Philippine Daily Inquirer May 19, 2012 | 8:46

[PHOTO-Lady Gaga arrives at Makati Shangri-la in Makati City Saturday night for her Manila leg of ‘Born This Way.’ ARNOLD ALMACEN/INQUIRER]

MANILA, Philippines—American pop singer Lady Gaga arrived in Manila Saturday night amid protest against her two-day “Born This Way” concert.

Airport authorities said the controversial singer arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on board a private plane around 7:30 p.m.

Hundreds of Christian protesters marched for the second day Saturday in Manila to demand a ban on Lady Gaga’s upcoming concerts, claiming her lyrics were anti-Christian.

About 50 riot police blocked a major Manila intersection to stop the marchers from reaching SM Mall of Asia Arena where the American singer is due to perform on Monday and Tuesday.

Lady Gaga has already faced opposition elsewhere on the Asia leg of her tour, including in Indonesia where police denied her show a permit amid threats from Islamic hardliners.

The Philippines is a deeply-religious Catholic majority country and many of the demonstrators Saturday were from the group Biblemode International, whose founder said Lady Gaga’s lyrics were blasphemous.

Baptist preacher Benny Abante, a former member of the Philippine Congress said the song “Judas” mocked Jesus Christ.

“You can’t just say, ‘Okay, I’m an artist, I’ll make an artistic expression’,” Abante told about 300 fellow protesters.

“You stomp on our Lord while saying you’re a fame hooker, you’re a prostitute wench,” he said referring to the lyrics of the song.

In a statement the group called on President Benigno Aquino to stop the concerts “as this is a direct affront to the moral and religious values that our nation has been known for”.

Aquino’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the national government did not wish to wade into the issue.

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

Renen de Guia, president of the Lady Gaga concert’s local promoters Ovation Productions, said those who have purchased concert tickets were well aware her performance was all for fun.

“People have the freedom to express themselves artistically,” he said.

“Those who oppose what Lady Gaga is doing are not being forced to watch the concert,” he had said on ABS-CBN television on Friday.

In Indonesia Islamic hardliners said they were ready to die to stop Lady Gaga from performing in June. And during the star’s concert in Seoul in March a Christian group vowed to take action to stop young people from being “infected with homosexuality and pornography”.

But Lady Gaga has so far failed to tone down her performances, riding on to the stage on a mechanical horse, wearing a black bodysuit and an enormous black metal headpiece.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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