July 5, 2012
BAYAN Europe condemns the brutal killing of 67 year old Dutch development worker Wilhelminus “Willem”Geertman last July 03, 2012 in Angeles City, Philippines in the style of political assassinations carried out by military death squads from the time of Pres. Gloria Arroyo to Pres. Benigno Aquino III.
We share the grief of his family and the Filipino broad masses who knew and deeply loved him as a resolute defender of the rights of the poor and oppressed people in the Philippines. He was executive director of Alay Bayan-Luzon Inc., a non-government organization serving the needs of peasants and other poor rural folk in Central Luzon, a region in the Philippines.
Geertman tirelessly served and fought for the rights and welfare of the indigenous Dumagat-Aeta in the province of Aurora, Central Luzon. He also helped in setting up an organization of the indigenous people living in the deep forests of the Sierra Madre in Aurora province.
Geertman was also an active and devoted environmental activist who campaigned against large-scale mining and logging in Pampanga and Zambales provinces in the same region. He had also been engaged in fighting for land reform for farm workers in Hacienda Luisita which is owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III.
Geertman worked with Bayan Philippines on relief missions, particularly in Nueva Ecija and Aurora in Central Luzon, in the aftermath of Typhoon Pedring that hit the area last year. As director of Alay Bayan, Geertman facilitated the relief missions of the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) of Bayan and allied groups.
Evidence gathered by cause-oriented organizations clearly show that Geertman was killed by military agents upon orders of those threatened by his work among the poor. The robbery angle that is being floated in the media is meant to mislead and deceive in order to shield the real mastermind of this dastardly crime.
Geertman is truly an exemplary devoted internationalist. He left the comforts of Holland to dedicate his life for the poor and oppressed in the Philippines. He has lived in the Philippines for 46 years and considered it his real home.
Wilhelminus “Willem” Geertman will always be remembered and cherished as a well-loved adopted son and martyr of the Filipino people. He is a big loss not only to the poor farmers, workers and indigenous people of Central Luzon but to the whole Filipino people, to the people of The Netherlands and to the whole international community.
BAYAN Europe calls on all concerned and progressive Filipino and solidarity organizations and individuals in Europe to generate a broad popular campaign to demand justice for Willem Geertman, friend, brother, and true internationalist.
Justice for Wihelminus “Willem” Geertman!
Stop the killings!
Long live international solidarity!
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