Statement on the
Killing of Willem Geertman in the Philippines
National Council of Churches in the Philippines
(Photo from www.astm.lu)
Once more the National Council of Churches in the
Philippines (NCCP) is constrained to speak in alarm and protest against
the continuing impunity in this country.
We lament the death of Willem Geertman, executive director of Alay Bayan
Inc. (ABI), a relief and disaster non-governmental organization (NGO)
based in Pampanga Province.
We reach out to his family, friends and co-workers. We reach out to the
people and communities touched by his life and example and pained by
this tragic loss.
While we mourn, his brutal assassination is an act worthy of utmost
condemnation. Reports say he was gunned down in broad daylight near his
office by two motorcycle-riding men. Known for his advocacy in defense
of farmers, especially in Hacienda Luisita, and his compassion for
disaster victims, his killing cannot be dismissed as an act of robbery
as was the police conclusion in the assassination of the Most Rev.
Alberto Ramento in Tarlac Province in 2006. It goes beyond that to the
brazen assault on people who take it their vocation to help marginalized
people attain their full humanity. The killing of Geertman builds on the
sad chapter of continuing extrajudicial killings in this country. We
will not dwell on the statistics, but we decry the failure of the
government to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of this wanton taking of
human lives. The human rights record of the Philippines has been
examined by the United Nation Human Rights Council recently, and those
member countries agree with human rights watchdogs that the Philippine
government needs to do much more in complying with the human rights
protocols it has signed.
We stand on the inviolability of human life, and no one has the right to
tamper with somebody else’s life, much more to take that life away. We
stand on the Christian vision of a community or country where the
humanity of each person deserves all the respect regardless of their
economic or political status.
Thus, we join the demand for justice for Geertman and others felled by
assassins’ bullets. This call becomes more urgent as the impunity
heightens and earlier killings remain unresolved.
Christian social responsibility is meant for the attainment of a
community or society which promotes healthy and life-sustaining human
relationships. We are called to live in community where our differences
are understood as our uniqueness, each contributing to the enrichment of
the same towards the attainment of the divine promise of abundant life
for all. (John 10:10)
The Most Rev. Ephraim S. Fajutagana
Rev. Rex R. B. Reyes Jr.
July 4, 2012