Get killers of Dutch activist, Duterte urged
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—Activists asked President Rodrigo Duterte to help bring justice to Dutch activist Wilhelmus Geertman, who was robbed and killed on July 3, 2012 in the boundary of this Pampanga capital and Angeles City.
In a statement given last Sunday, the fourth anniversary of his death, the Justice for Wilhelmus Geertman Movement (J4WGM) said it has a “strong reason” to believe that the Dutchman was gunned down by personnel of either the military or the police.
At the time of his murder, Geertman was executive director of Alay Bayan, a non-government organization that assists disaster victims.
The J4WGM said Geertman had suffered harassment from people believed to be soldiers and policemen who were allegedly hired by companies engaged in logging and mining in Aurora province.
He helped organize farmers, indigenous tribes, women and youth and supported their campaigns for agrarian reform, ancestral domains, human rights and environmental protection.
A criminal case filed against the suspected killers is undergoing trial after the Department of Justice in 2014 revised the case from homicide and robbery to murder and robbery.
The J4WGM, led by Geertman’s partner Aurora Santiago, said its hope was buoyed by Duterte’s commitment against destructive mining and his appointment of Regina “Gina” Lopez as Environment Secretary, an anti-mining advocate.
“The struggles of many communities against mining and their tactical victories were the results of many sacrifices like loss of lives, including that of Geertman’s,” the group said. RAM/rga
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