“We condemn this latest attack against peasant advocate in Central Luzon. Geertman is an active supporter of farmers’ struggle against landgrabbing and displacement in the region”, stated by Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson and chairman of the Board of Trustees of ABI.
“We are saddened that after killing Waldo Palispis, a Bayan Muna member in Aurora province, he was killed just a day apart. This is no different to what was implemented during Oplan Bantay Laya of Arroyo regime in which rights abuses had experienced by farmers and advocates. We know that Oplan Bayanihan, a counter-insurgency program of Pres. Noynoy Aquino, is behind the killing of Geertman”, Canlas said.
“Geertman was killed as he realized the Philippine government’s negligence and disregard of the Filipino farmers particularly in Central Luzon” added by Canlas.
“For us, he is more than a Filipino thanAquino and other anti-people and anti-peasant government officials. He offered his life for the farmers in the region not for the interest of the landlords just like Aquino” Canlas stated.
Amgl said that Geertman studied at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and Ateneo de Manila during 1970s. Since then, he considered Philippines as his second home and continued to serve the filipino farmers.
“He would often tell stories about his younger years during the Marcos dictatorship and asked UP students what was happening. He then learned from the student movement and later joined in organizing workers. When he got a job in a construction firm, his employer was offering a higher pay but he refused and told them that his job level was the same with the others, thus, there was no reason for an increase,” Canlas said.
“Again, Geertman is a peasant advocate and was killed during Aquino regime. It simply means that the government kills whether a peasant advocate or a farmer who calls for genuine agrarian reform in the region” Canlas uttered.
Amgl said that Geertman is no ordinary Dutch citizen. His work has benefitted many farmers in Central Luzon, especially those who were affected by destructive natural disasters. He has facilitated many projects sponsored by the European Union, Caritas International and many funding agencies that uplift the welfare of marginalized people.
“We call on the Dutch embassy to pressure the Philippine government to serve justice to one of their noble citizen and to conduct an investigation on the Geertman's brutal killing. Also, we call on church people, students, peasant advocates and other sectors to join us on our call for justice for Geertman”, Canlas said.
“The Aquino government that continues to neglect and oppress the Filipino farmers has again killed a greathearted human being who chose to leave his privileged life abroad just to serve the oppressed farmers in this country. This is not a plain crime against Geertman, this is a crime against the people, crime against humanity,” Canlas said. #