$5K ‘weed bond’ imposed on One Direction
MANILA, Philippines–Immigration officials have issued their warning, the warning has been noted, and so the singing may begin.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday required two members of the English-Irish band One Direction to post bonds worth P200,000 (about $5,000) each, to be forfeited if they are caught using or impliedly promoting illegal drugs while in Manila for their concert.
The two band members, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson, were also required to post P20,000 ($447) processing fee each for their special work permits, according to BI spokesperson Elaine Tan.
The five-member band is scheduled to perform on March 21 and 22 at the seaside Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Pasay City.
The BI’s order to post bond is a condition “intended to protect the public interest should the band members commit any violation during their stay in the Philippines,” Tan said.
CBCP official appeals
“The band will be prevented from performing during the scheduled concert dates should the producer fail to post the cash bond prior to those dates,” said Tan.
Also on Thursday, the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Youth, Fr. Conegundo Garganta, reiterated his appeal to parents whose children plan to watch the concert—guide your children toward the “right direction.”
“I hope the parents will be discerning on where they are leading their children. They should have the capacity to lead their children in the right direction,” Garganta said.
“Something positive must stand whether or not they decide to support a certain personality or group,” Garganta added.
The BI issued its order after the antidrugs advocate group Laban ng Pamilyang Pilipino Inc. said there should be strict scrutiny of the applicants for the special work permit, particularly those with purported links to drug use.
The Filipino group’s appeal was based on a leaked video showing Malik and Tomlinson smoking what appeared to be marijuana, which circulated over the Internet.
The other members of the band are Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Harry Styles.
Thousands of Filipino fans camped outside SM Mall of Asia Arena in May last year for the advanced selling of tickets for the band’s concert.
Some parents went out of their way and braved long lines to buy VIP tickets, which cost P17,950 each.
The young band catapulted to popularity after generating hit singles that include “Live While We’re Young,” “Story of My Life” and “What Makes You Beautiful.”
Antidrug advocates earlier proposed that before the band could be allowed to perform in the country, its members should undergo a drug test.
Narcotic agents were also urged to monitor the band while they were performing onstage to ensure that they were free from the influence of drugs.
The producer of the concert has gone to the immigration bureau to post the bonds, said Christine Ching, a spokesperson for the Anti-Drugs Advocate.
The Filipino group is also awaiting a response to their petition asking a local court to direct government agencies to ensure that the band members were drug-free.
It also urged the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to send officers to monitor the band.
Talent but without drugs
“We want to see their pure, raw, untainted talent,” without need for them to take drugs, she said.
She said the concert producers, during a meeting with her group, expressed willingness to cooperate and give drug enforcers and the Anti-Drugs Advocate access passes to allow them to monitor the band members.
Following the leak of the video last year, One Direction’s Liam Payne twitted an apology, saying, “I love my boys and maybe things have gone a little sideways. I apologize for that.”
He said: “We are only in our 20’s and we all do stupid things at this age.”
Ban the band
Previously, Garganta urged the government to ban the band from traveling to the Philippines to “protect the minds and senses of Filipinos from being poisoned.”
“The government should not only ban the group, it must make a statement because if you are for your people, would you allow your people to be poisoned?”
“From the start, you will have to cut the ties that will put your people in a bad state,” Garganta said.
He also said that the country was already struggling with “too many poisons” to deal with another one.
“So we better put a stop to this. We can ban them from staging a concert here,” the priest said.
The British press previously reported that the band might be banned from touring the United States, just like British star chef Nigella Lawson, who had been accused of being hooked on cocaine.–With reports from AP and Inquirer Research
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