QC gov’t ends contract with EzConsult after several system crashes delaying COVID vaccination

Lawsuit eyed for firm’s failure to meet contractual obligations

Courtesy Quezon City government


(Eagle News) — The Quezon City government has decided to terminate its contract with EzConsult, Zuellig Pharma Corporation’s booking services, due to a series of technical difficulties experienced by city residents.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said that the city government had received numerous complaints from the ineffective services of EzConsult that made it difficult for Quezon City residents to have a scheduled vaccination slot.

Because of this, the city government is even considering filing civil and criminal charges against the company for failure to meet its contractual obligation to the local government.

“We are filing appropriate charges against them through our Legal Department. We are doing this for the interest of our QCitizens and to protect their rights,” Mayor Belmonte said.

-System technical difficulties since March 27-

Since March 27, 2021, EzConsult has reported several technical difficulties that caused the city government delays in providing vaccines to its residents in a quickly and timely manner, according to a release from the city government.

“The last straw came on Tuesday afternoon, when disgruntled QCitizens had to endure a queuing system to book a slot, with some having to wait for hours,” it said.

The decision to terminate the contract of Zuellig Pharma’s EzConsult was arrived at on Tuesday night, June 29.

“We have already given Zuellig ample time to improve their system upon their request and yet their system has crashed again for the 9th time. We don’t want to cause undue stress to our constituents who only want to register for vaccination,” Mayor Joy Belmonte noted.


Courtesy Quezon City government

Before this, the city government issued an ultimatum to Zuellig for them to improve their system quickly and provide all the deliverables. The EzConsult system crashed repeatedly even with a reported upgrade, it noted.

“Earlier, they reported an upgrade of their system which supposedly could already accommodate up to 50,000 users at a time. However, their system crashed again when we opened new slots,” Belmonte said.

She said that the system hampered the vaccination rollout in the city,

Imbes na mapadali, napabagal pa ang ating registration process. Ang nakakalungkot, taumbayan ang nagdusa, at nawalang saysay ang pagsisikap ng ating mga medical frontliners at volunteers na ilang buwan nang nagsasakripisyo para mapabilis ang ating vaccination process,” Belmonte explained.

According to City Attorney Orlando Casimiro, Zuellig has breached their contractual obligations to the city after failing to deliver on their commitment to improve their service as previously agreed.

“The Information Technology portion of the Service Agreement with the city government will be terminated and damages will be claimed against Zuellig because of the delays, inconvenience and frustration that our QCitizens have experienced,” Atty. Casimiro said.

Under Section 9 of the agreement, Zuellig is liable to pay liquidated damages amounting to one tenth of one percent of the contract price for every day of delay until the project is completed.

Mayor Belmonte also called on the residents who are having a hard time registering on the EzConsult website to instead register at the city government-assisted QC Vax Easy portal https://qceservices.quezoncity.gov.ph/qcvaxeasy.

On the other hand, those who were able to book a slot for July 1,2,3,5 and 6 are advised to proceed to the vaccination site of their choice as scheduled.

The city government stressed that until the contract termination has been finalized, all ongoing bookings are valid.

Those scheduled for second dose should also follow the date indicated in their card, and take the jab at the same site where they had their first dose.

-QC gov’t launches own vaccine registration portal-

On June 25, the Quezon City government launched its new vaccine registration portal, QC Vax Easy, which is a city-assisted registration system.

Registrants only need to full up the form by accessing the link: https://qceservices.quezoncity.gov.ph/qcvaxeasy

City Administrator Michael Alimurung said that this will help address the concerns of many QCitizens who are having problems registering for the program.

“In light of the various difficulties that our people are experiencing in the barangay-assisted booking and online booking, this QC Vax Easy portal will aid us in registering QC residents and workers into the vaccination program,” Alimurung said.

The QC Vax Easy will introduce a first-in, first-out registration meaning those who have registered and submitted their personal information will be given a schedule for their inoculation, depending on the availability of vaccine supply. The city government will prioritize registrants based on their priority group.

As opposed to the previous system where registrants may choose their schedule and vaccination site, “in the QC Vax Easy, people will register on the website and the city health department shall contact them for their schedule and assigned vaccination site, close to their residence or workplace.”

“Slots and sites to be assigned will depend on the availability of the vaccines,” the Quezon City government said.

(Eagle News Service)