July 3, 2012
Bayan condemns in the strongest terms the killing today of Dutch NGO worker and missionary Willem Geertman. Based on initial reports from Bayan Central Luzon, he was shot in front of his office between 12:20-1pm. An independent investigation by Bayan CL is still ongoing and we are awaiting the full report on the circumstances of Geertman’s death.
According news reports, Fred Villareal -a correspondent of Sun Star Pampanga and a witness to the killings- said “he was writing a story in the compound of the Alay Bayan at the L & S Subdivision when he saw two men enter the premises about 12:20 p.m”.
“One of them pointed a gun at Geertman who struggled to pull the pistol away from him. The assailant, however, regained control of the gun and shot Geertman in the back,” Villareal was quoted in news reports.
The gunman and his companion fled on a motorcycle, according to Villareal’s account. Geertman died in the emergency room of the nearby Sacred Heart Medical Center at 1:20 p.m., Villareal said.
Geertman is the Executive Director of disaster relief NGO Alay Bayan Inc 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. We have worked with Willem on relief missions, particularly last year in Nueva Ecija and Aurora in the aftermath of typhoon Pedring. Alay Bayan facilitated the relief mission of the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) led by Bayan and allied groups.
Willem also attended the 4th International Assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggle in Rizal in July 2011.
Geertman is the second European NGO/community 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.
We call for a swift investigation and justice for the killing of Willem Geertman.