Slain Dutch’s family remains steadfast-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
ANGELES CITY -- Antonius Geertman, younger brother of slain Dutch national Wilhelmus Geertman, said on Monday that their whole family remains steadfast and will continue to support the issues and needs of the constituents of the said non-government organization (NGO).
“We shall continue to tell your stories, and work harder to gather support of the Filipinos’ struggles when we get back to Holland,” Geertman said, referring to the issues of land reform for the peasants, just wages for the workers and the indigenous peoples’ quest for their ancestral domain; and the continuous destruction the country’s environment by big logging and mining companies.
The younger Geertman said their family, more than the angle of “robbery with homicide” being pursued by the local police, is also convinced that Wilhelmus’ killing is politically motivated, as the latter was a peasant advocate, human rights defender, and a staunch environmentalist.
Alay Bayan Luson Inc. (Alay Bayan Luson), a disaster preparedness NGO, describes Geertman as highly critical of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Apeco) because of the project’s negative impacts on rural people and the environment particularly in the town of Casiguran in Aurora where he lived and worked with marginalized peasants and fisher-folks and indigenous peoples (IP) more than half of his stay the province.
Geertman was earlier killed by two armed men who barged into the office premises of ABI-Luson in L&S Subbdivision, Barangay Telebastagan, City of San Fernando noon of July 3.
The killers, who were described by eyewitnesses, were swift but carefully chose the spot where to shoot Geertman as they grabbed his collar and pushed him down to a kneeling position.
Meanwhile, over a thousand commoners of the capitol town of Baler came in solidarity with the quest for justice for the killing of Geertman Sunday afternoon.
Peasants, fisherfolks, IPs and professionals attended the last night of vigil at the Mount Carmel College covered court in Baler following a day long caravan from Pampanga.
Eight priests celebrated the mass at the nearby San Luis Obispo Parish on Baler at around 1 p.m., preceding an hour of protest march and slogans of “Justice for William Geertman.”
He was laid to rest around 3 p.m. at the new Memorial cemetery also in Baler.
The younger Geertman flew in to the country with his sister Elisabeth from Holland, immediately upon hearing their brother’s killing. (Wilfredo A. Villareal)
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 10, 2012.