JUSTICE FOR WILLEM GEERTMAN, WELL-LOVED DUTCH COMMUNITY WORKER, A DEAR FRIEND TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE

Statement of BAYAN, MIGRANTE and PHILIPPINE SOLIDARITY NETWORK IN CANADA

BAYAN, MIGRANTE and the Philippine Solidarity Network in Canada vehemently condemn the cold-blooded murder of Dutch NGO worker and missionary Willem Geertman by two motorcycle-riding men believed to be military agents on July 3, 2012 in Angeles City, Central Luzon.

The assassination of Willem Geertman is the latest in the train of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration, numbering 76 in the report of KARAPATAN (Movement for the Advancement of Human Rights) at the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Geneva in May this year.  Several countries urged the Philippines to end impunity in extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture and bring those responsible to justice, including Major General Jovito Palparan Jr, former Governor Joel Reyes and the perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre.

Geertman is the second foreign national killed under the Aquino government.  In October 11, Italian missionary Fr. Faustino “Pops” Tentorio, who devoted his life to the peasants and indigenous Lumad in Mindanao, was brutally killed.

Willem Geertman worked for Alay-Bayan Luzon, a non-government organization that addresses issues of poverty and landlessness, disaster risk reduction and environmental concerns in Central Luzon.  He was dearly-loved by the poor peasants, farm workers and the community that he served.  He was known for his courageous advocacy in defense especially of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita, and his compassion for disaster victims and victims of human rights abuses.

Indeed the Aquino government knows no bounds in disposing of those who get in the way of the foreign and local elite interests that it serves – so much so that it has taken to physically eliminating foreign nationals who serve the interests of the poor and the oppressed. Meanwhile it continues to promote and protect foreign mining and other corporate interests, and welcomes the entry of more US troops and warships into the Philippines.

We join the progressive community and all freedom and peace-loving groups and individuals in demanding a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.  We call for justice for Willem Geertman and all victims of human rights violations and an end to impunity NOW.

7 July 2012

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