After arriving in the country earlier this week, U2 singer Bono took time out of his Asian tour to attend an event with the Philippine Red Cross last December 10 to introduce Zipline, the world’s first and only national scale drone delivery service. During the event, the Irish artist was asked by the press whether he had plans to meet President Rodrigo Duterte. “I’ve no plans and today I’m just focused on the positives on what working with the local health service might be. President Duterte is very popular. He doesn’t need me on his side and as an activist I have a very deep conviction about journalism. I probably would’ve been a journalist if I wasn’t a singer. I think democracy requires free press. I find some journalists to be a total pain in the ass but I’m really glad they’re there (laughs),” he shared.
The 59-year-old performer was also asked to share his thoughts on the current human rights situation in the country. Bono immediately clarified that he did not want his statements to be sensationalized by the press and overshadow his efforts with the Philippine Red Cross. “We’re trying to make a difference here rather than make headlines for something else other than Zipline. But I am a member of Amnesty International. I have been all my life. I take it very seriously and I think human rights are critical and my impression of the Philippines, very caring, very sophisticated people,” he said.
Bono gave a civil but clear message on where he stood regarding human rights violations. “I understand that when progress is made, sometimes people make what they think are compromises for that progress. And I would just say you can’t compromise on human rights. That’s my soft message,” he added.