Manila, Philippines -- The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and its 33 organizational members in 9 countries in Asia, condemned the killing of the Dutch development worker Willem Geertman on July 3, 2012 in front of his office in Angeles City.
Geertman, 67 years old, is the Executive Director of disaster relief NGO Alay Bayan Inc (ABI) and has resided in the Philippines for the past 46 years. He spoke fluent Filipino and has worked among poor farmers in rural communities. He is a known anti-mining advocate.
“ABI is one of the main supporters of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL). as it adheres to the protection and promotion of farmers’ rights on land in the region. ABI is also a regular supporter of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers and the farmers’ struggle against the Aurora Economic Pacific Zone (Apeco) in Aurora, where Geertman stayed for many years,” remarked Joseph Canlas, Chairperson of AMGL and national council member of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
“Geertman was killed because of his commitment to serve the farmers in the region and not because he was robbed,” added Canlas. “
“We share the agony over the brutal murder of Willem with his family, friends, and colleagues. He was a staunch and militant defender of the rights of workers, peasants and the indigenous peoples,” according to Zenaida Soriano, President of AMIHAN (National Federation of Peasant Women) and APC Coordinating Council member.
“ Geertman is the second European NGO/development worker killed under the Aquino regime, after the death of Fr. Pops Tentorio in Mindanao. His death comes a month after the Philippine government appeared before the United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva where it was grilled by EU states on the elimination of extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances in the Philippines, Soriano revealed.
“We denounce the human rights violations by the Aquino regime and we demand justice for Willem. We call for an immediate investigation for the killing of Willem and to end impunity in the Philippines, ended Soriano. ##