‘Numbers Game’

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By Nef Luczon


Monday, January 13, 2014

AT LEAST three weeks ago, news feeds from the social network, Facebook, were swarmed with cryptic and blind messages with numbers from other users connected to our personal accounts, and such we were later told that this new “chain” activity is called the “Numbers Game.”

Like any of the previous ‘viral’ social network fads, it died quickly, but still you can see some people doing the deed. At first I was curious why some people would put random numbers and random description of people they know, but later it became disturbing, in a way, as numbers should make us remember those that are important, and that we should be concerned of.

So why not try the game, “Meaningful Numbers Game?” Starting with these figures:


72 billion

It’s the estimated total value in US dollars for the global international conventional arms transfers worldwide (the sale of guns and other firearms). Between 794,000 and 1,115,000 people died as a direct result of armed conflicts between 1989 and 2010, and an estimated average of at least 200,000 people die every year as an indirect result of armed conflict based from the data of the United Nations, TransArms, Uppsala Conflict Data Program, Geneva Declaration.

In the country, the estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the Philippines is 3.9 million, meanwhile the defense forces of the Philippines are reported to only have 449,350. These data are based from Small Arms Survey 2007 headed by Cambridge University and Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2013, respectively.

35.3 million

That’s how many people are currently living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). About 2.1 million of these are adolescents (10-19 years), and estimated 2.3 million people were newly infected with the virus in 2012 based on the data from the World Health Organization.

In the Philippines, as of January 2013, the Department of Health (DOH) AIDS Registry in the Philippines reported 10,514 people living with HIV/AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

In Northern Mindanao, there are 102 cases of people with HIV/AIDS from 1991 to early 2013, and there are still those people living with the said condition that have remained unrecorded until now.

16 million

This is the estimated number of teenage girls who give birth each year according to United Nations Population Fund (UNPF). The agency adds that Niger has both the world's highest teen pregnancy rate and the world's highest child marriage rate. By the time children turn 18, 75 percent of girls are married and 51 percent have borne a child.

In the Philippines, the number increased to 207,898 where 1,324 are under 15 years old in 2010, from the 95,662 live births by teenage mothers and 1,113 of these are delivered by mothers under 15 years old in 2009.

In Northern Mindanao, a 12.9 percent increase was seen in the case of teenage pregnancy, contributing to the total increase of 65 percent over the 10-year period from 2000-2010 survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO). In addition that a 2011 case study conducted by the city health office in Cagayan de Oro found that 24 cases of teenage pregnancy were recorded every year at a national high school in the city.

These, my friends, are the numbers and figures that oftentimes ignored by many and seldom enacted by many, and these are just few in fact. If you will find some time to put these numbers on your Facebook walls, this can be of great help to persuaded others to think deeper on the social issues that we should be participating in.

[Email: nefluczon@gmail.com | nefoi.blogspot.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 13, 2014.


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