By Billy Begas
The OCTA Research is not receiving any fund to do COVID-19 cases projections.
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During the hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, Deputy Speaker and Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian asked OCTA Research if it is being funded by any foreign or private company.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Ranjit Rye said “the OCTA Research Group is a private organization… if you’re talking about COVID research po, it’s not funded by any entity, both private and public, this is voluntary.”
Rye said members of OCTA, majority of which are from the University of the Philippines, believe in public service.
“Its research in COVID is really for public service,” said Rye adding that OCTA is doing this to contribute to the collective fight against COVID-19.
Gatchalian then asked where OCTA is getting its funding.
“For the COVID research, it’s for free po….. For the surveys po, we have a fund, self-generated, to do at least quarterly surveys po, ‘yun ho ay contribution na po namin sa bayan ho ‘yan,” Rye said.
To sustain the advocacy for statistics, Rye said “we have rider questions and we have subscribers po.”
“OCTA has just started its journey into public opinion research and so we don’t know if we can sustain it po but there are few number of subscribers both corporations and private individuals who believe in the idea of having a public opinion research contribute to both democracy and development,” Rye added.
Gatchalian said the advance pronouncement of OCTA has affected the economy.
“I’m not questioning po the technical expertise, the technical aspect of this. I’m not questioning the expertise of individuals who organized OCTA. I have nothing against them…. But kailangan po siguro with this hearing malinaw natin kung may mandato ba ang OCTA to do such pronouncements,” Gatchalian said.
Director Alethea De Guzman of the Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau said the agency did not gave any private research group a mandate.
Gatchalian said it cannot be denied that the pronouncement of OCTA has some effect on the economy.
“Malinaw ho tayo dun Mr. Chair. It seems that their role is really unofficial yet and pronouncement nila minsan napapangunahan pa ang DOH, napapangunahan pa ho ang IATF and a lot of our business groups are already weary and complaining ho dahil maaga pa lang ay hindi napapakinggan yung sentiment po ng mga business sector natin yet lumalabas po ay yung fear po at mga pronouncements nila has a big effect to their employees,” Gatchalian added.