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Rodrigo Duterte

James Taylor cancels Manila gig, citing concerns over Duterte’s war on drugs

American singer-songwriter, who struggled with heroin addiction for many years, explained his reasoning on Facebook, but not all fans are happy with his decision

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2016, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2016, 12:47pm

American singer-songwriter James Taylor has cancelled a concert scheduled for Manila on February 25 in protest against Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

The 68-year-old Taylor, who struggled with heroin addiction for much of his adult life, announced the cancellation on his Facebook page today in a post that said: “I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.

“The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society. For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable; but recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.

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“I offer my heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause my Filipino friends but I must now announce that I will not be performing in Manila this February. All tickets sold will, of course, be fully refunded.”

Many people commenting on Taylor’s post supported his decision, but many of his fans based in the Philippines lashed out at the artist.

“Do you really know what’s happening to our country? Or are you just basing all of this on what you’re getting from mainstream media? If the latter, then, we’re better off without you. You have no inkling of how bad the drug problem is in our country,” wrote Christian May Tejedar-Lim.

Taylor added that his Hong Kong show planned for February 23 would still go ahead, along with the scheduled concerts in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.