Armed men have seized a bus carrying schoolchildren andteachers in the centre of the Philippine capital,
In a note taped to the windscreen of the bus thehostage-takers said they were armed with grenades and high-powered weapons.
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They said 32 children and two teachers were being held onboard the bus.
Police have surrounded the bus and made contact with the menby phone and using messages scribbled on sheets of card.
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The children on board the bus are reported to be aged fiveand below.
The hostage-takers apparently include theowner of a day-care centre in a poor
The man, who gave his name as Jun Ducat, has spoken to localradio saying he wanted to ensure the safety of the children and seekingassurances that the police would not attack the bus.
"I want to go home to my children, I will surrender ifI will be given an assurance by politicians that they will make sure thesechildren finish college," Ducat said.
"I love these children. If blood will be spilled itwill not come from me, it will be from the police outside."
Ducat is apparently the owner of day-care centre in thesuburb of Tondo and said the hostage-taking was for the children's benefit."To the parents of the kids I am with ... I amasking for justice so they can have continued education up to college,'' hesaid
'A good person'
Mothers of some of the hostages have also beeninterviewed on local radio appealing for their children's safety.
"We are asking him to free the children, to let ourkids out,'' said Dema Arroyo, 29, mother of 6-year-old hostage Angelica.
"We will forgive him if he will free our children. Wehave no ill feelings toward him. He is a good person."
A Philippine senator has joined negotiations and was seenboarding the bus to talk to the gunmen.
Senator Bong Revilla left the vehicle after about 45minutes carrying a boy who had reportedly developed a fever during thestand-off.
Revilla, who said he knows Ducat, said the other childrenwere in good shape.
He said Ducat was holding a grenade with the pin pulled out,and that his hands were shaking.
Meanwhile Esperanza Cabral, the Philippinesocial welfare secretary, has reportedly also spoken with Ducat and offeredassurances that the children would get a good education.
Television pictures showed the bus parked in the square infront of the city hall with curtains drawn across most of its windows.
Earlier a woman hostage, apparently one of the teachers, wasseen through the front of the bus signalling for a phone as one of the men heldwhat appeared to be a grenade at her side.
Police officials say they have been given orders to ensurethat the hostage drama, playing out live on Philippine television, endspeacefully.
"Right now negotiations are ongoing,"
Source:AgenciesGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16