The OCTA Research group may possibly put a pin in conducting political surveys in favor of data analytics on the ongoing pandemic.
OCTA fellow and molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco said that he suggested the break to help delineate the boundaries of their scope of work.
“We’re still discussing and deliberating on it,” he said. “It may be a time now for a pause for us to really focus on Covid to make sure that we don’t have any conflicts of interest that people may perceive because our work in inherently political.”
The House of Representatives recently called for an inquiry into the group’s credentials and membership due to concerns stemming from public panic they have allegedly been causing through their projection models.
Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez however, did not agree with this investigation, calling it a “waste of time and taxpayer’s money.” He even called them “heroes” in the battle against Covid19.
He cited their contribution to controlling the spread of the virus in areas outside Metro Manila, particularly in Cagayan de Oro, where there was a 75% increase in infections. The advice of OCTA, Rodriguez said, guided him to ask for more vaccines and led President Rodrigo Duterte to recalibrate the distribution of vaccines in critical regions.
“Cagayan de Oro thanks OCTA research group,” he said.
OCTA fellow Guido David said that they are willing to explain their qualifications, but that they wish to do so in a “proper venue”, not the House. “I’m not certain if the House is the proper venue because the experts might not be there to ask,” he said. “How can they say if our methodology is right or wrong if they would just be looking at it from a lay person’s point of view? They are not science experts, modeling experts.”
He added that if the issue with them was them causing public confusion, then other groups producing similar work, they must also be asked to show their findings for comparison.
Photo: RI STAC