Localized Bar exam: MOA signed for 16 test centers on 4 Sundays in November
MANILA, Philippines—The first-ever local bar examination will be conducted online on four Sundays in November at 16 testing centers nationwide.
“There are already 16 local testing centers that have agreed to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) based on the template approved by the Supreme Court,” Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, chair of the Bar Exam, said during the high court’s MOA signing with Saint Louis University last Thursday.
He said the Supreme Court might have a total of 25 testing sites throughout the country “as the Court is still in the process of negotiating with several large schools to accommodate more Bar examinees.”
Last year, the Supreme Court canceled the Bar examination due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The high court has decided to hold the 2020 and 2021 Bar at the same time. However, because the country is still dealing with the pandemic, the high court has decided to hold it online with more testing sites to reduce the cost for aspiring lawyers and lessen the risk of COVID infection.
In previous Bar examinations, the venue was in Manila, making it difficult for aspiring lawyers from Visayas and Mindanao to travel.
So far, these are the following testing centers: Ateneo de Manila University; Manila Adventist College; Saint Louis University Baguio City; Saint Louis College – La Union; Saint Mary’s University; Cagayan State University; De La Salle Lipa in Lipa City; University of Nueva Caceres; University of St. La Salle – Bacolod; Central Philippine University; University of Cebu – Banilad; Mindanao State University – Iligan; Mindanao State University – General Santos City; Ateneo de Davao University; Xavier University – Cagayan de Oro; and Ateneo de Zamboanga University.
The Supreme Court, he said, has developed an online portal for digitally submitting bar examination petitions, called the Bar Personalized Login Unified System, or Bar PLUS.
“No longer will a Bar applicant have to go to Manila, (to) line up at the Office of the Bar Confidant,” he said.
“Using the Bar PLUS, Bar Examinations applicants will be able to submit their personal details, access the necessary forms for their application, upload petition requirements, and pay for their application digitally.”
The Bar PLUS is set to be launched on July 15.
Leonen said the applicant could determine the venue for the Bar exam with permission from the Office of the Bar Confidant.
He assured that the Supreme Court’s Bar exam preparation complies with the national government’s health protocols against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said reforms of the Bar Examination would be made continuously.
“Law courses have become varied; a lot of changes have happened in the field of law. And yet, we have not looked into these specific provisions of the Rules of Court,” he said.
“I would like the Court to continue looking at the course offerings of law schools along with the Revised Model Curriculum prepared by the Legal Education Board,” he said, adding that the courses offered by law schools must be synchronized with the coverage of the bar examinations.
Gesmundo had served as chairperson of the Organizing Committee for the SC’s 2019 Legal Education Summit, a two-day conference organized by the SC to assess and improve the quality of legal education in the country.
Also present during the MOA signing at the SLU campus were Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, Associate Justices Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa, Ramon Paul L. Hernando, Rosmari D. Carandang, Amy C. Lazaro Javier, Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Rodil V. Zalameda, Mario V. Lopez, Samuel H. Gaerlan, Ricardo R. Rosario, and Jhosep Y. Lopez.
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