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James Taylor cancels Manila concert to protest drug killings

James Taylor has canceled his February concert in

James Taylor has canceled his February concert in Manila, saying he finds reports of summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines without judicial proceedings "deeply concerning and unacceptable." Credit: AP / Steven Senne

Singer-songwriter James Taylor has canceled his Manila concert to protest Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users.

“Addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society,” the five-time Grammy-winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer wrote on his website and on Facebook. “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 . . . unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.”

Taylor, 68, apologized to his fans for canceling the Feb. 25 concert at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City in the Manila, assuring all tickets would be refunded. His February concerts in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong are not affected.

Since taking office in July, Duterte has waged a bloody war on drug dealers and users, resulting in the deaths of some 6,000 people and prompting worldwide condemnation, including from the UN high commissioner for human rights.

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