Breaking the language divide was the key in rescuing boy taken hostage in Albay

  • A cop who spoke the same language as the suspect became the key in rescuing a boy held hostage in Albay
  • The suspect took the boy hostage due to some family problems
  • The hostage-taking incident lasted for eight hours

The hostage crisis in Albay, wherein a two-year-old boy was taken at knife point aboard a passenger bus, ended peacefully after a quick thinking cop managed to bridge the language divide between negotiators and the suspect.

The suspect, 48-year-old Bayani Yutiga Galanon, took the boy, who was his fellow passenger in a Raymond bus, hostage for more than eight hours in the town of Oas.

Galanon had reportedly boarded the bus in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. As the vehicle passed through the Maharlika Highway in Oas, he grabbed the boy from his mother. He then ordered 48 passengers out of the bus; leaving him with the boy and two other women.

The driver sought the help of the local police in Oas, but initial negotiations led by town chief Police Senior Inspector Domingo Tapel failed.

Galanon originally demanded a gun and a vehicle. Rappler reports, however, that authorities found an opportunity when Galanon demanded that he speak with journalists who can communicate in Bisaya.

Chief Superintendent Melvin Buenafe, who took over the negotiations from Tapel, then began talking to the suspect in his native language. Although Buenafe is from Camarines Sur, he can also speak in Bisaya.

It was during this new round of negotiations that the suspect began to share his family problems that led him to commit the hostage taking.

“He said he wanted to go home to Milagros, Masbate, because he would like to seek advice from relatives,” the mother of the boy who was taken hostage told the Inquirer.

Police eventually managed to grab the boy away from the suspect during the course of the negotiation.

The boy suffered injuries on his head, face, neck and other part of the body while he was being held hostage.

Meanwhile, Galanon was arrested and brought to the Oas police station.