The reason behind

Whenever a hostage taker threatens its hostage, we see it as an act of pure evil without understanding their motive behind it. Yes it’s unlawful, but if we try to put ourselves in their shoes, we might understand them.

On march 2, 2020, hostage-taking incident happened in Green Hills shopping mall. An intense 10 hour standoff with lives of 30 hostages are at risk led by ex-security guard Alchie Paray. Armed with deadly weapons and explosives, we can easily judge his actions as demonyo and we’ll be hoping that law enforcements are on its way and we’ll be saying patayin agad. Paray’s intentions was not to harm its hostages, but to get the attention of the people and to expose the corrupt practices of security agencies in the Philippines.

Green Hills hostage-taking incident was a success due to meeting Paray’s demands and with the help of authorities. One of the executives of his previous security agency tried offering him cash hoping to end Paray’s actions, and the deal almost got stumble, because it’s not what he wants. Providing him a presscon closed the deal. Paray just wants him to be heard and understand.

Let me share you a story of a friend. I agree not to mention his name for personal matters. Orphaned at an early age, been on a mission finding his biological parents. After years of searching, finally got a lead that his Parents are living in Caloocan, Philippines. He decided to stop his studies in province and to take a chance in Caloocan. And so his journey begins without knowing what lies ahead.

Upon arriving in Caloocan on year 2008, he has been exposed to illegal drugs and kidnapping activities due to poverty. Caloocan has been known from its high crime rates.

At exactly 4pm, he and his colleagues begun selling marijuana leaves until 12am. At that time, marijuana leaves only cost around 25 pesos per sachet. Suki (repeat customers) will be meeting them at the negotiated place, in that way, they will have a smooth transaction and will not be having a hard time selling it.

One night, during a gathering with colleagues and while getting supplies of illegal drugs from their suppliers, they have been ambushed by authorities. They are unaware that they are already under surveillance for months. Some of their colleagues died from gunshot, some wounded, some escaped, while he, jumped into a septic tank to hid himself from authorities. Submerging his body from decomposed manure and by using a plastic straw to have access to breathable air for hours just to survive and to get rid of authorities.

Another experience that he shared with me was that, he tried robbing an old man by pointing a gun on his waist. He then started asking for some cash or he will have no choice but threaten to shoot. The old man saw something in him that he was somewhat lost, and his hands are too shaky while pointing the gun at him. Then the old man started talking to him by saying, alam ko hindi mo to gustong gawin anak. When the old man is handing him the cash, he started crying, took the cash, and he leaved him behind, alive and unharmed.

After all, he did found his parents in Caloocan. He then just realized that life in the province gave him a better opportunities. He finished his bachelor’s degree in criminology and passed the board exam. The kid that has been doing crime is now about to fight crime. I wish him all the success in his future endeavors.

We easily judge people by their actions, without knowing the drivers behind it. I would like to share what I have learned from Chris Voss, author of Never Spit the Difference, one of the former top hostage negotiator in the world is that, if we give empathy and just try to listen and understand one another, we could change people’s behavior in a positive way and by understanding them, we could provide better solutions and opportunities to all.

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