MANILA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The eighth passenger, a Filipino, was released from a tourist bus hijacked in the Philippine capital Manila on Monday morning, witnesses said.
The hostage taker earlier released seven passengers including three children. They were sent to the Manila Hospital for treatment. Hospital officials said they were in good condition and wanted to go home, according to a report filed by ABS CBN News Channel.
Most of the passengers onboard are from China's Hong Kong. Police confirmed that there were 25 passengers in the bus including 22 Chinese tourists, three Filipinos -- the bus driver, an interpreter and a photographer.
There are still 15 Chinese nationals and two Filipinos in the bus.
Chinese Embassy officials are now at the command post of the Manila Police District (MPD). They are hoping for the peaceful resolution of the situation and to ensure the security of the Chinese nationals.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified the hostage taker as former Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza. Mendoza was dismissed from service for extortion and forcing a chef to swallow "shabu."
Two police officers, Superintendent Orlando Yebra Jr. and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador, have started negotiations with Mendoza.
Mendoza is demanding authorities to clear his name and be reinstated to the service.
MPD spokesman Police Chief Inspector Erwin Margarejo said in a press briefing that the use of force against the hostage taker will be a last resort. He added that Mendoza's demand for reinstatement will be studied and will undergo undue process.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has appealed to Mendoza to "honor and respect" the lives of hostages. The government is hoping that tourists will view it as an "isolated incident" and that "it does not reflect real situation of the country."
Mendoza was carrying an M-16 rifle when he abducted the bus, with plate number TUU 799, Monday morning. The abduction was held near Rizal Park, a major tourist site in Manila.
The remaining hostages in the bus have been served with food and water from people outside the bus.
In Hong Kong, manager of Hongthai travel agency Lau Mei-sze has earlier confirmed that six tourists including three children, 2 adults and one tour guide, had been released by the abductors.
She said the 22 Hong Kongers had arrived the Philippines on Friday and planned to come back to Hong Kong on Monday evening.
Joseph Tung, the executive director of Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC), said the passengers were aged between 4 and 72.