Posted on 26 May 2011.
Some superstitious people consider the number 4 unlucky because it sounds like the word “death”
(死 pinyin sǐ) in Chinese.
What does this have to do with the RH Bill? Nothing. Unless you’re a congressman who’s desperate to delay interpellations because you’re afraid of a deciding vote.
During yesterday’s interpellations, Rep. Roilo Golez argued that the RH Bill (HB 4244) will lead to misfortune. Why? Because according to Rep. Roilo — I’ll refer to him this way to avoid confusion with the other Rep. Golez — its bill number contains three of those unlucky fours.
It seems that anti-RH legislators are not content to violate secularism. With legislators like Rep. Roilo, we might have to amend our constitution with a clause calling for separation of superstition and state.
Rep. Roilo’s fascination for numbers continued when he questioned why an earlier version of the bill changed to HB 96 from HB 3. At first, I didn’t know the reason he was so hung up on this trivial fact. Then I remembered that he threw reason out the door the moment he brought up numerology. I suspect that he simply prefers 3 because it’s considered a lucky number. (Regarding HB 96, although 9 is lucky, 6 isn’t.)
It would be interesting to know what Rep. Roilo thinks of Rep. Pablo Garcia’s bill: Hormonal Contraceptives Regulation Act of 2011. The bill aims to regulate the sale and advertising of birth control pills. This is a bill that Rep. Roilo would agree with, except for one detail: the bill is numbered 4482. Will he be against it because of those two unlucky fours? Or maybe the bad luck is mitigated by the lucky 8 and 2?
But hold on for a second, Rep. Roilo. It’s not OK to import foreign ideas from the US (family planning and population development), but it’s OK to import foreign ideas from Rome (Humanae Vitae) and China (numerology)? What’s the criteria for importing ideas?
Numbers that Count
I hope Rep. Roilo — or any of the other anti-RH legislators — doesn’t foray into numerology again. If they want to talk about numbers, there are many figures and statistics that truly deserve to be discussed. For Rep. Roilo’s sake, here are four:
ONE: 71% — the percentage of Catholic respondents who favor the RH Bill (8% are not, the rest are undecided) (SWS)
Even if these anti-RH representatives ignore people with different beliefs, who exactly are they representing? It seems they’re content to represent the 8% composed of the CBCP, Pro-Life Philippines, and their cohorts.
TWO: 11 — the number of women in the Philippines who die daily from maternal complications (Likhaan)
You’d think they’d have a sense of urgency with so many lives on the line — lives that are not merely potential but actual. While legislators are still busy debating about when life begins, it’s clear to the families left motherless when life as they know it ends.
THREE: 500,000 — the number of abortions that could be prevented if the RH Bill becomes law (Likhaan)
Countries that have an increased rate of effective contraceptive use have a decreased number of induced abortions. It’s been estimated that half a million abortions can be prevented by an RH policy. Are the anti-RH really pro-life?
FOUR: X Pesos — the cost in taxpayers’ money wasted whenever religion, superstition, and other tangents are discussed in Congress
Anti-RH legislators argue that the government lacks funds to implement the RH Bill. Yet they waste taxpayer money by discussing anything — Communism, Catholicism, conspiracies — other than what’s actually proposed by the RH Bill.
The Third Interpellator
After Rep. Roilo, there are as many as 36 interpellators left to go. That’s potentially 36 more hours of discussing religious interpretations, imperialist plots, and of course, Chinese numerology.
But let’s humor him and give numerology a chance. Out of the original list of 38 interpellators, Rep. Roilo was originally interpellator no. 3 — a lucky number. But when Pacquiao unexpectedly took Garcia’s slot, Rep. Roilo was bumped to no. 4 — the same unlucky number he argued against simply because of what it sounds like.
Some might think he got the number he deserves. But I disagree. Considering his tendency to inflate the importance of what words sound like, no. 3 suited him perfectly. For Roilo truly is a third.