Getting the right facts is what the Press people's credibility in news reporting! AFP says the Iglesia ni Cristo is a "sect" and was "founded in 1914" by a "Filipino Felix Manalo" whose church "does not disclose the exact number of its membership, but it claims to have millions of followers" where " aspiring politicians scramble to get the approval of its ministers during elections". Amounting to US$175 million, the bill of the project was again held in utmost secrecy by the INC.
By Agence France-Presse
A politically influential Christian sect in the Philippines said Thursday it had started building one of the world's biggest indoor arenas with a seating capacity of 50,000.
The 74,000-square-metre (796,000-square-feet) mega-structure called the Philippine Arena is part of Iglesia ni Cristo's Ciudad de Victoria, a sprawling complex being built just outside the capital Manila.
"It is going to be twice the size of the biggest indoor arena in the United States," the church said in a story broadcast on its own television station and filmed during the project's ground-breaking ceremony last month.
In comparison, it said, the Madison Square Garden in New York could only sit 20,000 people, while the Staples Center in Los Angeles has a capacity of 21,000.
Designed by Kansas City-based architecture firm Populous, construction is being carried out by South Korea's Hanwha Engineering and Construction Corp. and is expected to be completed by 2014 to mark the church's centenary.
The church said it planned to use the arena for religious gatherings.
The complex around it will include a university, a convention centre, a medical facility, housing units and a chapel.
The arena itself will cost 175 million dollars, although the bill for the entire project was not revealed.
Founded in 1914 by Filipino Felix Manalo, who left the Catholic church over differences in beliefs, the sect has grown to become one of Asia's biggest indigenous Christian organisations.
It does not disclose the exact number of its membership, but it claims to have millions of followers,
It runs its own television and radio station, and because its members vote as a bloc, aspiring politicians scramble to get the approval of its ministers during elections.