The Duterte administration wants the Octa Research Group to stop publicizing their recommendations on the pandemic response because of its intention not to follow them, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday.
“Ang nakikita ko lang na dahilan kung bakit ililihim, hindi susundin iyong datos, iyong pagdedesisyon hindi nakasunod sa datos (The only reason I see why it must be hidden is that they won’t follow the data, they would decide not based on data),” she said during her weekly radio show.
According to Robredo, it would be better for experts from the group to make public their research instead of just communicating it to the government in private.
“For the benefit of everyone na alam ng tao kung ano iyong mga resulta ng research (the people should know the result of the research),” she asserted.
The vice president disagreed with Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who discouraged the local research group from publicizing their recommendations on placing areas under strict lockdown to avoid confusion.
The Octa Research team, composed primarily of faculty members and alumni of the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas, has been regularly issuing reports on the COVID-19 situation nationwide.
Roque said the group does not have the same number of experts working with the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“I wish they would refrain from making these recommendations publicly,” he said.
His statement came after the Octa team recommended to implement stricter lockdown measures in Bauan, Batangas; Calbayog, Western Samar; and General Trias, Cavite due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. These places were not being mentioned by the IATF.