DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 July) — The other night, I stayed up almost until dawn monitoring the new tragic airline disaster in strife-torn Ukraine involving, yet again, another Malaysian Airlines aircraft that claimed innocent lives. I felt sad for the so-called “collateral damage” of war. The agony of relatives and loved ones cannot be fathomed by us observers, although I was in the middle of that kind of human anguish and grief when I was crisis manager of another plane crash in Mindanao many years ago. As I went to sleep already almost dawn, something strange struck my mind as I suddenly jumped out of bed to check some data. I found an interesting common thread to those earlier disasters: the number “7”.
Consider the following:
1) Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed after being reportedly shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine a few days ago. It was a Boeing 777 aircraft and flew its first inaugural flight on 17 July 1997. It was exactly 17 years to the day when it crashed last 17 July. Strange coincidence.
2) Still remember Malaysian Airlines MH307 which is up to now still missing and being searched? It was also a Boeing 777 aircraft. By the way, Boeing 777 entered commercial service on 7 June 1995.
3) Many years ago, in 1998, it was Cebu Pacific Flight 387 that crashed in the outskirts of Cagayan de Oro City. I took charge of the whole crisis situation when former President Ramos assigned me to handle coordination of the incident. That was one of my unforgettables.
4) Then I remember a similar airline incident in September, 1983. Korean Airlines flight KAL 007 was shot down when it strayed into Russian territory. All passengers and crew died. It was a Boeing 747 aircraft.
FACEBOOK POSTS — Mere coincidence, I am sure, but this sounds eerie. So I posted my initial take on No. 7 on my Facebook account. Gods! I got a flurry of interesting but spontaneous, off-the-cuff comments. An FB friend going by the name PHOTOVISIONEERS FOTOGRAPINOY simply said: “The ancients said that 7 is the number of God”. Another one, ROMAN RAMA GUERRERO (from North Cotabato) posted: “Shouldn’t we alert Malaysian Airlines with these observations Sec Jess? It’s time to turn away from #7 as we did with the President whose favorite number was 7”. Another FB friend KUMAW MONTECLAR SEBALDA posted an internet-generated fact sheet about MH17 and Boeing 777.
An FB post from ELTON CERNA (in Davao City) said: “Seven is God’s number. Take this: a) God created the world in six days and rests on the 7th; b) He commanded his people to labor for 6 days and to rest on the 7th; c) Noah’s ark during the biblical great flood floated for 6 days and rested on Mt. Ararat on the 7th; d) in Revelation, God warned of the 7 last plagues. In fact, there are many other biblical accounts that mention 7 as having close association with God.”
A veteran journalist friend CHARLIE SENASE (from Cotabato) had this to say: “Looks like seven connotes rest and believed to be the number closely associated with the Lord in biblical times. Why not? To rest in peace, indeed; and rest in peace is eternal”.
A university official, RONNIE AMORADO (from Davao City) posted: “Sir Jess, isn’t it that #7 is somebody’s lucky number? He hated the unlucky #13 but got elected as the 13th haha. What say you sir?”
Another post from NIMFA ESGUERRA (a realtor in General Santos City) said: “Those coincidences really sound eerie. And it somehow bothered me because 7, 8 and 13 are my considered lucky numbers. My sudden reaction was to take a look at my booked ticket if it has the number 7. I think you scare me. Pero okay na. Hirap nyan ha.”
Shucks, my not-so-serious take on No.7 is spinning to other things. Someone suggested that airline flights change 7 to 6 or 6.5. Then someone suggested we change the infamously unlucky 13 to 7; that high rise buildings that skip floor No. 13 also skip No.7. But Blogger REX VINCENT LUMAPAS LARIDA asked: “And who said 13 is unlucky?? Hehehe…”
Well, before this spins off to a more serious discourse, let’s leave it at that. But I would be glad to continue compiling some more coincidental info on the matter. I am sure there are more facts out there. Do let me know. In the meantime, since I take the plane almost every week, I’ll always be on the lookout for No.7 in the flight numbers, just like what my FB friend Nimfa said. You can’t blame me!
But for the moment, being preoccupied with this is a good break. At least, for a change and for a brief, fleeting moment, we have temporarily forgotten DAP, PDAF, Napoles, and other bad vibes and the toxic air that we have all been swimming in and preoccupied with for some time now. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Lawyer Jesus G. Dureza was government peace panel chair in the negotiations with the MILF under the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2003 and was later named Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (2005 to 2008). He heads Advocacy MindaNOW Foundation, Inc. and was recently named publisher of the Davao City-based Mindanao Times. This piece is from his syndicated column, Advocacy MindaNOW.)