The online news portal of TV5
ANGELES CITY - As successive typhoons again whip the country, one important man will no longer be there to help save the victims of disasters from poor communities.
Wilhelmus JJ Lutz Geertman, 67, a Dutch development worker, was gunned down last July 3. But the killers of the executive director of the nongovernment Alay Bayan-Luson Inc. remain at large.
On Monday, the peasant-based group, Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL), reiterated its call to bring Geertman's perpetrators to justice.
“(At) this time of calamities, farmers from different provinces of the region yearn for Geertman as he symbolized hope for the rural poor,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairperson.
Geertman who spent 46 years of his life in the Philippines was believed to be among the victims of extra-judicial killings because of his many advocacies that purportedly step on the toes of those who wield economic and political power.
As executive director of Alay Bayan, Geertman helped in the campaign of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers to own the land they till.
He also served the farmers of Aurora, who were affected by developments at the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone as well as peasants from Pangasinan, who reeled from flash floods caused by the release of water from the San Roque Dam.
Moreover, Geertman helped push for the rights of farmers in Zambales, who were displaced by mining activities the province.
Recently, Aurora Santiago, the fiancee of Geertman, filed a murder case against an alleged military asset and five others suspects in the killing of the development worker.
According to Santiago, Marvin Marsan is an "asset" of a certain Lieutenant Vidi Tababa of the Philippine Army's intelligence bureau.
“His murder is a copycat of what took place during Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya in the region. Now in Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan, it is the same brutal measure being carried out by agents of the military,” Canlas said.
“We renew our call for justice for his death and to make answerable not only the two gunmen who barged into the ABI’s office premises and shoot him but also the brains behind his assassination,” said Canlas who is also chairperson of the Alay sa Bayan board.
“We honor Willem by pursuing the case against his killers and continuing his work of helping farmers in the region," he added.