OCTA vows to attend House hearing on its capabilities after solons note absence
MANILA, Philippines — People from analytics group OCTA Research have assured that they will attend the House of Representative hearing on its qualifications and capabilities, moments after lawmakers voiced their disappointment over the firm’s absence.
During the House committee on good government and public accountability on Monday, Deputy Speaker and BH party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy noted during the calling of the roll of participants that no person from OCTA Research was present in the online meet.
Herrera-Dy was one of the lawmakers who filed the resolution after they noted that the government has been reliant on OCTA Research in crafting studies and policies concerning the COVID-19 infection growth.
Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, another lawmaker who filed the resolution last August, said that the committee should instead listen to resource speakers present instead of letting the absence affect the hearing.
Committee chair and Diwa party-list Rep. Michael Aglipay said that they would give OCTA Research one more time to attend its subsequent hearing on Thursday. If they are still absent, Aglipay said that the committee would issue a subpoena.
Eventually, Aglipay said that OCTA Research fellow and University of the Philippines Professor Ranjit Rye informed him that they would be attending the hearing.
Lawmakers last August 4 have asked the House of Representatives to do an inquiry in aid of legislation on the capabilities and background of analytics group OCTA Research, questioning its composition.
The resolution was hinged on the warnings made by infectious diseases expert Dr. Edsel Salvana, who noted before the latest Metro Manila-wide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 Delta variant that OCTA Research’s projections on infection growth is “problematic”.
Salvana said in August that OCTA Research is making projections based on data that is subject to errors because current data is incomplete due to backlogs.
OCTA Research has been used by various media outfits in covering the COVID-19 pandemic in the country — including their call in early August for a circuit breaker lockdown due to the then-looming threat of the dreaded Delta variant.
The same firm said that the Delta variant may already be spreading undetected in Metro Manila even before the Department of Health and other health experts admitted that Delta is already the dominant variant in the country.
Previously, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David noted that the House briefing is not the proper venue to discuss its research methods, because not all lawmakers at the panel would have backgrounds in science, data modeling and processing.
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