Research Ethics Committees in Manila Schools: Exploring the Reasons for its Non-Existence

  • Paulo Maria N. Pagkatipunan UP College of Medicine
  • Elisa Bernadette E. Limson
  • Anna Marie C. Abrera
Keywords: ethics review, Manila schools, ethics committee, ethics committee accreditation, higher educational institutions


Objectives. This study aimed to explore the reasons behind the “resistance” of higher education institutions (HEIs) located in the south Manila area in creating research ethics committees (RECs). It also examined the proportion of researches in these HEIs with human participation.

Methods. Research directors underwent key informant interviews while faculty researchers participated in focus group discussions. Universal sampling was employed on all researches in the schools to determine the proportion with human participants and to know if they are ethically “high risk“ or “low risk” in terms of the participants’ involvement.

Results. We included ten higher education institutions in this study. Research directors and faculty researchers agreed that their school should have a REC and that studies should undergo ethical evaluation before commencement of data collection. Half of all researches were found to have human participant involvement and, after developing a tool to determine the risk level to participants, this study found that ethically high risk researches are found to represent 10% as a proportion of the total researches done in the schools.

Conclusion. Almost all respondents in this study agreed that RECs should be created; however, there are financial challenges that schools face in establishing RECs.