Impunity: not fun in the PH

PSNA, WKP-APS
Joint Statement
July 10, 2012

Less than a year since  the killing of 59-year-old Italian missionary Fr. Fausto "Pops" Tentorio in Mindanao, we hear the news thatWilhelmus 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.

Philippine solidarity groups in New Zealand are shocked and outraged over this incident. The Philippines has become notorious for being one of the most dangerous places for journalists and activists, with the hundreds of extrajudicial killings during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's presidency.
Such killings continue under the Aquino administration. Now with two European nationals counted as victims of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration, 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!

The Aquino administration promotes its tourism business with the slogan "It's more fun in the Philippines." But it's not fun when foreign nationals serving poor and deprived sectors of the Philippines, are targeted by armed forces that operate in defense of the interests of government, mining, big business and landlords, instead of upholding the rights of the poor.

Like Father Pops who spent 33 years spearheading literacy and health programs for indigenous peoples and peasants in Mindanao, 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.

Auckland Philippines Solidarity will lead a protest action in one of the landmarks in Auckland, New Zealand to echo the calls for justice and for an end to impunity in the Philippines. We are aware that President Aquino has been invited to visit New Zealand. Unless he renders justice and stops impunity in the Philippines, he should not expect a warm welcome from New Zealanders when he arrives here. The impunity must stop. Justice for Wilhelmus Geertman, Fr. Fausto Tentorio and all the victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines!

-MURRAY HORTON,
secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa,
cafca@chch.planet.org.nz;
CAMERON WALKER, spokesperson,
Auckland Philippines Solidarity,
phsolidarity@gmail.com;
ROD PROSSER, convener, Wellington Kiwi Pinoy,
communitymedia@paradise.net.nz