PHL: Most dangerous place for foreign missionaries?

PHILIPPINE solidarity groups in New Zealand are shocked and outraged over the news that Willem Geertman, a 67-year old Dutch NGO/community worker has been shot by two motorcycle riding men believed to be military agents in his office in Angeles City, Philippines.

The Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA), Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS), and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy (WKP) note: “The Philippines became notoriously known for being one of the most dangerous places for journalists and activists with the hundreds of extra-judicial killings under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo watch.

Now with two killings of European nationals under Aquino, the government’s failure to stop impunity is turning the Philippines into one of the most dangerous places for foreign missionaries.

It’s not fun in the Philippines

“While the Aquino government promotes that ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines,’ it’s not fun when foreign nationals serving amongst poor and deprived sectors in the Philippines are also targeted by armed forces that operate in defense of the interests of government, mining, big business and landlords instead of the protection of the rights of the poor,” Murray Horton, Secretary of PSNA stated.

Like Fr. Pops who spent 33 years launching literacy and health programmes for indigenous peoples and peasants, Geertman left the comforts of life in Holland and chose to offer more than four decades of his life working with indigenous peoples and peasants in Central Luzon.

“This coming weekend, Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS) will lead a protest action in one of the landmarks in Auckland, New Zealand to echo the calls for justice and end to impunity in the Philippines,” Cameron Walker, APS Spokesperson declared.

“We are aware that Pres. Noynoy Aquino has been invited to come visit New Zealand. Unless he renders justice and stop impunity in the Philippines, he should not expect a warm welcome from New Zealanders when he arrives here,” Rod Prosser, WKP Convener added.



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