Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
American singer, songwriter and activist James Taylor has cancelled the Manila leg of his tour next year "to make a political stand" over a spate of extrajudicial killings that have marked President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial anti-crime drive. (Shutterstock/Amy Nichole Harris)
The Philippine National Police announced that it held singer James Taylor's decision to cancel his Manila concert in February 2017 in high regard, though claiming that he was not abreast of the nation's recent law and order situation.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday said it respects the decision of five-time Grammy award winner singer James Taylor to skip his concert in the Philippines in February next year.
However, the police said Taylor, who announced the cancellation of his Manila concert in a Twitter post on Wednesday, was misinformed about the situation of peace and order in the country.
“The PNP respects the artist’s decision. However, we cannot hold him at fault for basing such decision on incorrect information about our country’s peace and order situation,” PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos told the media.
Carlos said the US crooner even missed the opportunity to prove for himself that “no alarming extrajudicial killings” are taking place in the Philippines.
“Coming to the Philippines will be a firsthand opportunity to prove for himself that there is no alarming EJKs (extrajudicial killings) happening in the country,” he said.
“At the end of the day, it is a loss for him to experience the warmth and hospitality of the music-loving Filipino audience and also earn his purse from the concert,” Carlos added.
Taylor, singer of the hit song 'You’ve got a Friend,' said his decision was to “make a political stand” against the “deeply concerning and unacceptable” drug war led by President Rodrigo Duterte and carried out by the state forces.
“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,” he said.
“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) February,” he added.
He said all tickets sold for his concert will be refunded. He will continue to perform in other cities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.