ABS CBN has this follow up story on the Manila schoolbus hostage crisis that actually got us on both CNN and the BBC yesterday:

The parents, instead of getting mad, are planning to hold a rally in his defense. They view him as a “good man” who “tried to help us” and said that the fake hostage taking incident was  his way of getting attention to the poverty of the children in the area.

In the meanwhile, politicians ran to meet with the “victims” in photo ops. It is election year here in the Philippines, and the campaign season is now officially open.

The Police chief has been fired because of the incident citing lack of security and for allowing a few politicians to “negotiate” with the “hostage taker”.

Alas, the book will probably be thrown at the Hostage taker Ducat if for no other reason than to discourage copy cat crimes.

What is most worrying about this farce is that there are real and ongoing threats of terrorism and ordinary criminal kidnappings here in the Philippines.

Next week is Holy Week, the week before the Easter holidays, and travel will be heavy as people go home to spend time with their families. So security will be tight. Having such an embarasing situation  leads to fear that the police would be unable to handle a genuine hostage threat.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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