SCM Philippines' Statement on the Killing of Willem Geertman
JULY 5, 2012
The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) joins various sectors’ clamor for justice for slain foreign missionary Willem Geertman who was killed by still unidentified gunmen Tuesday in his office in Angeles, Pampanga.
While the identity of the suspects remain unknown, it is not far-fetched that Geertman’s death may be connected with his involvement in Alay sa Bayan Inc.-Luzon (ABI) work and advocacies.
Friends and colleagues of Willem Geertman in ABI and Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG), a group which is based in Aurora, described his deep involvement in the works for social justice and peace in Aurora and Central Luzon throughout the years.
In his early years as a lay missionary, they recalled that Geerman was enthused together with young missionaries in the 1970s who came from Europe, in forging the vision of the Church of the Poor, then spearheaded by Bishop Labayen of the Infanta Prelature, Quezon.
They lived with the masses instead of staying in the convents, walked miles to meet peasants and Dumagats of Aurora and immersed with their life struggles and conditions. This group of missionaries was later known as Missionary Volunteers (MIVO). Later Willem was to help in the formation of Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG) and also LAY FORUM-Luzon which organized church-people for peace and justice advocacies.
The disaster relief NGO ABI which Willem headed, has been actively involved in the disaster-preparedness and mitigation campaign amidst the foreboding large-scale destruction of natural resources and displacement of people in the mining projects in Sta. Cruz Zambales, and against mega-dams like the San Roque Dam.
Most recently, Willem helped in campaign against the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco), a project of the government which threatens massive displacement of farmers and land-conversion in Casiguran, Aurora.
We are outraged that persons like Willem, who had given many years for the service of the peasants, national minorities like the Dumagats and down-trodden are killed wantonly in this country. Willem was killed barely three days after Romualdo Palispis, the chairperson of Justice and Peace Action Group chapter in Maria Aurora, Aurora province was also killed by suspected security forces.
This makes Aquino’s indelible bloody mark in just two years. The string of extra-judicial killings go on with impunity under Aquino which makes a bloody record of at least one victim of extra-judicial execution in a week.
We further call on the Aquino government to stop its counter-insurgency operations Oplan Bayanihan which targets human rights advocates, activists and ordinary people.
While we join the family of Willem Geertman and Romualdo Palispis in grief, we call on the justice-loving Filipino people in demanding justice and accountability from the current dispensation.
JUSTICE FOR WILLEM GEERTMAN!
JUSTICE FOR ROMUALDO PALISPIS!
JUSTICE TO ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
STOP AQUINO’S OPLAN BAYANIHAN!
Contact No: 09477265990 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
***SCMP is a Co-Convenor of the TANGGULAN Youth Network for Human Rights
and Civil Liberties