A day-care center owner took a busload of his students and teachers hostage and drove them to Manila city hall Wednesday to demand better housing and education for the children.
Jun Ducat and at least one other hostage-taker taped a hand-written note to the bus windshield saying tthey were holding 32 children and two teachers and were armed with two grenades, an Uzi assault rifle and a .45-caliber pistol, police officer Mark Andal said.
They demanded housing and education for 145 children in Ducat's 4-year-old day-care center in Manila's poor Tondo district where the incident, televised live around the world, appeared to have begun. The driver was released soon afterward.
"I love these kids; that's why I am here," Ducat, identified by police and parents as the day-care center owner, told DZMM radio by mobile phone. "I invited the children for a field trip. You can be assured that I cannot hurt the children. In case I need to shed blood, I will not be the first to fire. I am telling the policemen, have pity on these children."