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QC gov't mulls scrapping contract with eZConsult developer due to technical woes
Undated photo release shows the exterior of the Quezon City Hall.
Released/QC Government

QC gov't mulls scrapping contract with eZConsult developer due to technical woes

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - June 16, 2021 - 3:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City is "seriously considering" terminating its contract with Zuellig Pharma Corp., the creator of the eZConsult vaccine scheduling service used by the city's inoculation program following technical glitches on the platform. 

“We have issued an ultimatum to Zuellig so they can improve their system quickly and provide all the deliverables. If not, we have no other choice but to find another company that can do the job quickly and efficiently,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement Wednesday.

Quezon City Investment Affairs Office chief Joseph Juico told reporters that listed vaccination schedules will be unaffected if the termination pushes through. 

"If in case the contract is already terminated, termination does not affect accrued obligations. Therefore, those that already booked schedules should still be assisted by eZconsult," he said in a text message. 

The QC public information office added that the existing database for schedules is owned by city government, and the local government has a copy of the Vaccine Information Management System

In her statement, Belmonte blamed the company for what she admitted was the city government’s inability to provide vaccines to its constituents quickly and claimed the service was "putting all our efforts down the drain."

"We took the service of eZConsult to facilitate the registration process, but what do we do if their system itself is the root of the problem?" the local chief executive said. 

"The sacrifices and efforts of our medical frontliners and our residents are being compromised by this inefficient system. They committed a seamless service but they failed repeatedly," she also said.

In addition to terminating its deal with Zuellig, the city government also said it was mulling filing damages against the company for failure to meet its contractual obligation by Friday if the company fails to deliver.

“If there would be no significant improvement, we would initiate contract termination proceedings and file appropriate charges against them as deemed appropriate by our city legal counsel to enforce and protect our rights and the interest of QCitizens,” Belmonte said.

City Attorney Orlando Casimiro said he already wrote a letter to Zuellig Pharma Corp. addressed to its general manager Danilo Cahoy, demanding for liquidated damages in connection with the technical failures of eZConsult.

He said that under the terms of reference of their agreement, Zuellig has the obligation to make Information Technology services, such as registration, pre-assessment, booking and scheduling of vaccination at the patient level available online.

“Failure to strictly comply with the terms of the contract shall constrain us to take all necessary legal action as may be appropriate, including both civil and criminal cases against Zuellig and its officers, for the full protection and enforcement of the Quezon City Government’s rights and interests,” Casimiro said.

The city government added that all matters related to the ongoing and subsequent legal actions by the LGU are sensitive information that cannot be disclosed yet.

Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com. This article was produced following editorial guidelines.

COVID-19 VACCINATION QUEZON CITY LOCAL GOVERNMENT
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