American musician James Taylor is one of the latest to speak out against the Philippines’ war on drugs.
The Grammy award-winning artist announced Tuesday that he will be canceling the Manila leg of his tour, set for February, as a political stand against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Taylor issued a statement online saying that he is deeply concerned by the quote, “Recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process.”
“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,” the statement read.
Taylor, one of the best-selling singer-songwriters known for hits including “Fire and Rain” and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” struggled with drug addiction early on in his career, and did not sober up until his mid-30s.
Meanwhile, many Filipinos have responded to Taylor’s decision, citing lack of ticket sales as the real reason for cancelling the show.
The Philippine National Police has also responded to Taylor’s decision not to perform, saying, “There is no alarming extrajudicial killings happening in the country.”
“The PNP respects the artist’s decision. However, we cannot fault him for basing such decision on incorrect information about our country’s peace and order situation. Coming to the Philippines will be a firsthand opportunity to prove for himself that there is no alarming EJKs happening in the country. 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,” a statement from S/Supt. Dionardo Carlos, PNP Spokesperson, read.