Gunmen seize Manila school bus

Bus carrying schoolchildren and teachers taken hostage in Philippine capital.

    Police say they have instructions to
    make sure the crisis ends peacefully

    "I will surrender if I will be given an assurance by politicians that they will make sure these children finish college"

    Hostage-taker Jun Ducate speaking to Philippine radio

    Television pictures showed the bus parked in the square in front of the city hall with curtains drawn across most of its windows.
     
    A Philippine senator has joined negotiations and was seen boarding the bus to talk to the gunmen.
     
    Earlier a woman hostage, apparently one of the teachers, was seen through the front of the bus signalling for a phone as one of the hostage-takers held what appeared to be a grenade at her side.
     
    One of the gunmen has spoken to local radio saying they wanted to ensure the safety of the children and he wanted assurances that the police would not attack the bus.
     
    Surrender
     
    "I want to go home to my children, I will surrender if I will be given an assurance by politicians that they will make sure these children finish college," said the man, who gave his name as Jun Ducate.

    The chidren were reportedly on a
    field-trip when the bus was taken

    "I love these children. If blood will be spilled it will not come from me, it will be from the police outside."
     
    The children were reportedly on a field-trip when the gunmen boarded the bus.
     
    The driver of the bus has already been freed and told local media the hostage-takers appeared well preprared.
     
    "Right now negotiations are ongoing," Manila police chief Reynaldo Varilla told DZMM radio.
     
    "We hope we can have them surrender peacefully so no one will be hurt."


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