'Who's supporting OCTA?' Solon wants answers on OCTA Research's funding

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2021 09:55 AM | Updated as of Sep 07 2021 09:59 AM

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MANILA - OCTA Research Group can influence the upcoming elections, a lawmaker said Tuesday as he questioned the independent group's source of funding.

Aside from coronavirus data, the group also releases political surveys, said Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza.

"OCTA at this point in time can influence the next elections. Can you imagine from a very prominent role in the fight against COVID bigla kang lilipat ngayon (to politics)...Kung di natin kokorekin yan, magkakagulo-gulo pati itong darating na halalan," he told ANC's Headstart.

(OCTA at this point in time can influence the next elections. Can you imagine from a very prominent role in the fight against COVID then you will shift to politics...If we don't correct this, there will be throuble in the upcoming elections.)

Atienza said he does not believe that the research group's funds come out of their own pocket.

"Maybe we should look at their tax record. Are you genuinely rich Filipinos na wala kayong tinatanggap, wala kayong bayad, na ginagawa niyo lang 'to out of good will and love of your fellow men? I doubt it. Walang makakasurvive na ganyan, in the middle of all of this," he said.

(Maybe we should look at their tax record, are you genuinely rich Filipinos that you don't receive anything, any pay, you're just doing this out of good will and love of your fellow men? I doubt it, no one will survive like that.)

"Saan galing itong OCTA? Who’s supporting OCTA? Anong intentions nitong OCTA at totoo ba ang sinasabi nitong OCTA?"

(Where did OCTA come from, who’s supporting OCTA, what are its intentions and are the things they're saying true?)

Members of the independent research group faced congressmen on Monday for large discrepancies in their projections of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Atienza said the group was not authorized by government to speak on COVID-19 data.

"When you’re talking about a national pandemic, people are already getting so panicky, many are committing suicide, going very hungry and you have an organization speaking loud and clear with authority when they have none. Bakit natin pinapayagan to (Why do we allow this)?" he said.

"The people behind OCTA we don’t know so it's very very dangerous to have a phantom organization with no identification, no real accountability."

The group only "got on stage" after claiming they were a University of the Philippines institution, Atienza said.

"Dineny sila ng UP. They keep on posturizing as if they are a UP office institution authorized to give analysis on the issue of COVID," he said.

The group has several times said they get their data from the Department of Health.

“We get our data largely from the Department of Health. We like to reiterate we are an independent scientific group, not a medical group and one of our research objectives our agenda is to do data analytics for COVID-19 so we get our data solely from official source which is the Department of Health,” said OCTA founder Ranjit Rye, an assistant professor of political science at UP.