Philippine groups condemn killing of Dutch aid worker

Updated: 2012-07-04 16:26:00

(Xinhua)

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MANILA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Philippine groups condemned the murder of Willem Geertman, a Dutch national working for a local nongovernmental organization (NGO).

Geertman was killed Tuesday in front of his office in the northern Philippine province of Pampanga by motorcycle riding gunmen. He was shot at close range.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Citizens' Disaster Response Network (CDRN) said Geertman's death is a "big loss to the entire network."

"We mourn and condemn his brutal killing. But as we mourn the loss of a committed development worker, we also vow to continue his good works for vulnerable communities and humanitarian response," CDRN Chairperson Jimmy Khayog said

Geertman was executive director of the disaster management organization Alay Bayan Inc and has resided in the Philippines for the past 46 years.  He was also Executive Council officer of CDRN - a national network of community-based disaster management organizations.

The Bagong Alyasang Makabayan or Bayan (New Patriotic Alliance), a leftwing political group, likewise condemned Geertman's killing.

Bayan members worked with Geertman in several relief operations.

"Bayan condemns in the strongest terms the killing of Dutch NGO worker and missionary Willem Geertman," the group said in a statement, adding that it is calling for "a swift investigation" of Geertman's killing.

Local police is yet to identify the assailants or establish possible motives in Geertman's murder.

Geertman is the second European NGO/community worker killed recently in the Philippines. In October last year,  Fausto Tentorio, an Italian priest who served as CDRN's board member, was also killed. Both Tenorio and Geertman were active in their environmental, anti-mining and indigenous peoples rights advocacies.