MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday urged experts from the University of the Philippines to refrain from broadcasting their suggestions on pandemic lockdowns and instead relay these "privately" to authorities.
The OCTA Research team, composed of experts from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas that has made regular projections on the country's coronavirus infections, has "1 or 2 epidemiologists" which is "not the same number of experts" working with the inter-agency task force leading the pandemic response, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"I wish they would refrain from making these recommendations publicly. They can probably endorse or course their recommendations privately to the IATF, nang hindi naman po napapangunahan, highlighting the fact that classifications are normally announced by no less than the President himself," Roque told reporters.
"If the IATF itself does not make public its recommendations to the President, sana the OCTA team— and this is really an appeal para hindi nagkakagulo (so that there will be no confusion)— can also course their recommendations to the IATF privately," he added.
Roque made the remark when he was asked about the OCTA group's recent recommendation to place parts of Bauan, Batangas, Calbayog, Western Samar, and General Trias, Cavite under stricter lockdowns.
Provincial governors are allowed to decide on the lockdowns of towns together with their regional IATFs, said Roque.
The Philippines is grappling with Southeast Asia’s worst COVID-19 caseload, with 342,816 infections tallied as of Monday.