Indigenous peoples condemn the killing of Dutch missionary

THE Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas condemned  the killing of Willem Geertman, who was shot dead this afternoon in front of his office in Sto. Domingo, Angeles City, Pampanga.

Geertman was a Dutch missionary and executive director of Alay Bayan-Luson Inc., a non-government organization of peasants and other poor rural folk in Central Luzon. He is also part of BATARIS, an organization that catered to Alta-Dumagat tribes in Aurora Province, and had been instrumental in the formation of Samahan ng mga Katutubo sa Sierra Madre (SKSM), an indigenous peoples’ organization.

Geertman lived in the Philippines for 46 years and has been involved in several advocacies including peasants, indigenous peoples, environment, and anti-mining plunder.

“Wilhelm spent most of his years in the service of the poor and oppressed in our country. It is an outrage that he, too, became a target for such barbarous killings,” Piya Malayao, KAMP spokesperson said.

Malayao says this is resonant of the killing of Fr. Pops Tentorio, an Italian missionary and activist who was killed on October 2011.

“This is yet another indigenous peoples’ advocate and environmental activist slain brutally. With this government’s record on human rights and persecution of activists like Willem, our eyes are on State forces for responsibility for his killing,” Malayao said.

“Aquino’s inaction and in addressing human rights violations and extrajudicial killings is deepening the culture of impunity. The military deployed in the region must be immediately be pulled out and questioned for this brutal attack,” Malayao added.

Oplan Bayanihan, the Aquino government’s counter-insurgency scheme, hasbeen truly stripped off its deceitful garb in the unabated extrajudicial killings, says KAMP.

“We have documented 15 killings of indigenous persons since Aquino took power. We are certain that human rights is not the priority of this administration and Oplan Bayanihan is nothing but a strategy for repression and impunity,” Malayao added.

“We demand the scrapping of Oplan Bayanihan, along with our call for justice for Willem’s killing,” the group said.

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