A Dutch NGO worker and missionary working in central Luzon was shot dead by gunmen in Pampanga province today.
Renato Reyes, secretary general of the New Patriotic Alliance, a leftist political coalition, said Wilhelm Geertman was shot in front of his office in Sto Domingo village in Angeles City at around 1 pm local time.
Reyes said Geertman was executive director of Alay Bayan Inc, a disaster relief organization based in central Luzon.
He was a known supporter of peasant groups in central Luzon. His organization is known to provide relief and rehabilitation services to farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people identified with leftist groups.
As news of Geertman’s death began to spread, an alliance representing fisherfolk immediately accused the government of having a hand in the killing.
"[President Benigno] Aquino and his extrajudicial killers in the [military] can deny this to high heaven, but the truth is shown in the manner he was killed and on the cause of his advocacy for genuine land reform, rural empowerment and social justice," said Fernando Hicap, chairperson of the National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organization in the Philippines.
Geertman was also active in opposing the establishment of the Aurora Pacific Special Economic Zone and Free Port project in Casiguran town.
Geertman is the second European missionary to have been killed in the last year.
In October 2011, Italian priest Fausto Tentorio was shot and killed at the Mother of Perpetual Help parish church in Arakan town, in Mindanao.
Italian priest shot dead in south
Police arrest priest murder suspects