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No compromise on human rights — Bono

Paul Hewson, more commonly known as Bono, will perform tonight with his rock band U2 at the Philippine Arena as part of the Asian tour of their 1987 album The Joshua Tree.

When asked if he was going to pay a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte, Bono said he had no plans to meet the President.

The Irish front man is also known as an advocate and activist, but he chose to keep mum when asked about human rights in the Philippines and left a “soft message” for President Duterte.

“I think we’re trying to make a difference here rather than make headlines. I am a member of Amnesty International, I have been all my life, and I think human rights are critical,” Bono said.

ROCK BAND U2. Bono, the frontman of the Irish rock band, speaks to the media during a news conference at the Philippine Red Cross headquarters in Mandaluyong on Tuesday. 
Manny Palmero
“My impression of the Philippines is a country of very caring, very sophisticated people. I understand that when progress is made, sometimes people make what they think are compromises for that progress.

“And I would just say that you can’t compromise on human rights. That’s my soft message to President Duterte.”

Bono made his statement even as green advocates on Tuesday praised the results of a three-year investigation of the Commission on Human Rights of 47 biggest fossil fuel firms in the world for climate-related human rights violations against the Filipino people.

Gerry Arances, Center for Energy, Ecology and Development executive director, said “the CHR’s statement is welcome news, especially as we observe International Human Rights Day. 

“For the longest time, these carbon majors have been recklessly emitting pollutants with no regard for the social impacts of their actions.”

Bono led the launching and announcement of the first drone blood delivery service in the Philippines on Tuesday. 

In partnership with Zipline, the Philippine Red Cross aims to deliver thousands of blood bags and other medical products to health centers across the country through a drone.

Bono was joined by PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, and Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo who all signed the partnership at the Philippine Red Cross Headquarters. 

Among the causes of death of Filipinos is the failure to have access to medicines and blood bags especially in emergency situations. 

In a statement, PRC and Zipline said  more than two-billion people across the globe are unable to have access to vital medicines “they need to stay healthy and alive because of last-mile transportation challenges.”

“Geography and Mother Nature can get in the way of our work in reaching the most vulnerable, making it difficult for them to get access to blood and vital medicines,” Gordon said.

“We are excited to bring the newest technology in fulfilling our mission. The Philippine Red Cross will soon be able to reach patients at the hospitals across the country on demand and within minutes.

“Zipline’s instant drone delivery service was designed to help solve that problem. We’re honored to work with the Philippine Red Cross to make sure that patients across the country can access the blood they need to stay alive no matter where they are and no matter the circumstances,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo.

Zipline plans to start the initiative in the summer of 2020 in three distribution centers within the Visayas and to expand the service to eastern Visayas and Mindanao.

The company is also eyeing to make “hundreds of deliveries per day to thousands of health facilities” with an operation of “24 hours a day, seven days a week” to serve millions of people across the Philippines.

Rinaudo also described the Philippine Red Cross as the bravest and had the hardest time in terms of working in the world.

“We are particularly inspired by the way the team already uses technology. The Philippines is an amazing country with amazing challenges when it comes to disaster response,” he said. With Rio N. Araja

Topics: Paul Hewson , Bono , U2 , Asian tour , The Joshua Tree , human rights , Philippine Red Cross
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