There was an outpour of emotions as family, friends, former colleagues and comrades of Willem Geertman filled the Old Catholic Church on Ruysdaelstraat in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His comrades were in black and red, organizing Filipinos donned Filipiniana and his brothers wore identical white t-shirts with the words: “Katarungan para kay Kuya William” which brother Ton brought in from The Philippines.
Ton Geertman and sister Maria went to The Philippines weeks ago to bury their brother. Ton however has more to tell of the experience. While it was a sad moment, it was also special.
“For me it was very special to experience that in spite of the sadness, there was the strength of the Filipino people. While still crying, they were already going ahead with their work and planning what has to be done after the death of my brother,” he said.
Ton added that aside from the people Willem worked with, they also met with the police officers that are handling Willem’s case. While the police officer promised that he would do his best to solve the case, Ton thinks otherwise. ”I know that there are a lot of forces behind him and I won’t be surprised if the case will not be solved. But for us it’s important to tell the story of what happened, to protest against impunity, to tell the government to end this impunity,” he added.
Brother Herman, who was not able to go to the Philippines for the funeral because of a freshly operated knee, asserted that the family would continue to search for Willem’s killers. “We will continue to search for justice and help the people to change the system there,” he asserted.
The number of people that came for the memorial service overwhelmed the Geertman family. The two-hour service took the form of a mass injected with an audio-visual presentation created by the people with whom Willem worked with in Alay Bayan, lighting of candles and laying of flowers.
Former colleagues and comrades also gave tributes. Dutch-Filipino Solidarity Group Theo Droog handed a colored stone over that symbolized Willem’s work and courage made by an artist. It is a manifestation of the Dutch saying, “je steentje bijdragen aan” which is not quite translatable in English but roughly means: “doing one’s part”.
International League of People’s Struggle Chairperson Jose Ma. Sison also gave a tribute. He maintained that Willem’s death “serves to inspire the Filipino people to fight ever more resolutely and militantly for national and social liberation”.
More than 1000 euros was raised from the money collection, which will go to Willem’s project in the Philippines. The Geertman family, along with all those present, vowed to continue Willem’s work in The Philippines. #
The story on GMA News.