Willem Geertman (right) speaks to a representative of the EU
Activist groups have called on the European Union to withdraw its financial support of the Philippines following the killing of a Dutch lay missionary in Pampanga province yesterday.
The New Patriotic Alliance and Pamalakaya, a fishermen’s group, condemned the murder of Willem Geertman, calling for a swift investigation along with punitive action by Brussels following what is the second killing of a European missionary in the Philippines in the past year.
"We send this highly urgent and strong appeal to the European Union to drop all economic aid and other financial assistance to the [Philippine] government," said Salvador France, vice chairman of Pamalakaya.
Manila is due to receive US$10 million in European aid to improve human rights following a $3.9 million grant donated in 2009 for the same purpose.
Geertman, executive director of the NGO Alay Bayan-Luzon, was gunned down by killers on a motorbike outside his office in central Luzon in broad daylight yesterday. His organization provided relief and rehabilitation services to farmers, fishermen and indigenous peoples identified with leftist groups.
The Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) today also condemned the killing, saying it had lost one of their own, a fellow member of the Church.
"We call on the Dutch government to press Philippine authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, and to render justice for the killing of Geertman and other victims of extra-judicial killings," said Nardy Sabino, general secretary of the PCPR.
In a press statement released today, Sabino urged Church people "to never give up the struggle to defend human rights and to defend the defenders until there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain."
Geertman’s death follows that of Italian priest Fausto Tentorio who was shot and killed at the Mother of Perpetual Help parish church in Arakan town, Mindanao in October last year.
Gunmen kill Dutch missionary