MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is launching an investigation into OCTA Research Philippines “to ascertain the credentials and background” of its members.
As an independent research group, the OCTA Team has gained media mileage for its projections and warnings about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Five lawmakers filed a resolution for the inquiry specifically to seek a probe on the group’s “qualifications, research methodologies, partnerships and composition.”
The five lawmakers are namely Deputy Speakers Bernadette Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon Partylist), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur, 2nd District), and Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA Partylist); Deputy Minority Leader Stella Luz Quimbo (Marikina, 2nd District), and Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay (Quezon City, 4th District).
Since March 2020, the group has been making projections about the surges of COVID-19 cases in the country. Some projections almost hit the mark, with the latest one pushing for a ‘circuit breaker’ or hard lockdown.
The lawmakers cited netizens flagging the group as an alarmist. Even the Department of Health (DOH) and a member of the government’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 has advised the group to “apply circumspection in making pandemic-related statements, in order to minimize public panic.”
The writers of the resolution pointed out that, “There is a public health and public policy need to ensure the safety and security of the population during this pandemic, and that information being distributed is correct and is not irresponsibly and erroneously published.”
They also underscored the need to “validate the connection between OCTA Research and the University of the Philippines System, as the former publicized a partnership which the latter seemingly denied.”
Based on their website, OCTA describes itself as a “polling, research and consulting firm” that provides “comprehensive, holistic, accurate, rigorous, and insightful data analysis to help our clients in government, the private sector and the NGO community.”
It further indicates that OCTA specializes in public opinion research, qualitative and quantitative research, policy research and advocacy, and training and capacity building.