This year Time Magazine chose to honor Bono, along with two others as 2005 “Persons of the Year.” Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the 1980s, Bono or Paul David Hewson is the frontman of the biggest rock band in the universe, U2.
According to the magazine, “Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world’s richest countries into forgiving US$40 billion in debt owed by the poorest.” For the past years now Bono is actively involved in campaigning for debt relief for heavily-indebted countries in Africa and Asia. He founded Debt, Aids, Trade for Africa (DATA), a London-based non-profit organization that works to raise awareness about the problems of Africa and seeks to influence wealtheir governments' policies toward it. In 2000, he teamed up with the late Pope John Paul II in calling on the rich countries to cancel Third World debt.
Why debt relief? For countries such as the Philippines, writing off billions of dollars in debt would mean more hospitals or more roads for farmers to transport their produce thereby lessening the cost of basic commodities such as rice. It would also mean more budget allocation to increase the salaries of our teachers and health workers thus abating the exodus of Filipino professionals to other countries to work as hookers, maids and ass-wipers.
At present, the country’s allocation for debt servicing is pegged at 34.4% of the total national budget. That's 310.3 billion pesos! And every year budgetary allocation for debt repayments increases by 21%. That's a lot of money which should be spent on social services i.e., health, education, water, etc. Clearly, debt servicing is a heavy burden for poor and middle income countries already overwhelmed with countless problems i.e., high population rate, famine, drought, floods, etc.
Anyways, I am a big fan of Bono and U2 since the release of War album which for me is their best. Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year's Day were our anthems back in sixth grade. I hope Bono will never tire of churning out good rock and roll and continue to take up the cudgels for the world’s poor. Bono is the man.