OCTA Research Team member Prof. Ranjit Singh Rye (left) and Palace spokesman Harry Roque (right)| Rye photo from the UP Diliman website; Roque photo by Joey Dalumpines/ Presidential Photo

The OCTA Research Team asserted that it will continue making its Covid-19 suggestions in public despite Palace spokesman Harry Roque’s appeal to do so privately.

“Nagpulong ang grupo namin kahapon at napagkaisahan na itutuloy pa rin namin ‘yung report namin,” Prof. Ranjit Singh Rye, member of the OCTA team, said in a Dobol B interview.

“Unang-una, bagamat gusto talaga namin tumulong sa gobyerno sa kolektibong laban natin against Covid-19, ang accountability namin ay nasa taumbayan,” he added.

Roque on Tuesday urged health experts to forward their suggestions for the government’s pandemic response in private instead of expressing them publicly.

He explained in a CNN Philippines interview on Wednesday that he made the recommendation so that President Rodrigo Duterte could decide based on national interest.

“Why is it important that these recommendations not be made public? Because it will enable the President to make the correct decision even if it may be an unpopular decision; and that is why we have had this consistent policy of letting the president decide,” he said.

“We can only gather the data, present it to him, and privately at that because it’s never publicized, and let him decide pursuant to what is best for the national interest,” he added.

Roque said that aside from health concerns, the recommendations made by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases also take into consideration economic concerns.

“It is in this context that the president should be allowed leeway in deciding what is best for the country and any recommendation publicly made tends to either influence the president because there will be public opinion generated by the recommendation, and we want the president to make the right decision without pressure from public opinion,” he said.

The country has recorded 346,536 Covid-19 cases as of Oct. 14. John Ezekiel J. Hirro