Cebu City designated as the New Regional Site for Bar Examination

Last August 13, the Supreme Court finally approved the proposal of regionalizing the next bar examination – making Cebu City as the new regional site aside from Manila. Hence, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen designated Cebu City as another venue for the Bar Examination.

It can be recalled that pursuant to the Constitutional Authority to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law, the Bar Examination has always been held in Manila, hosted at the University of Santo Tomas since 2010 after the security concerns that happened during the 2010 Philippine Bar exam bombing at the De La Salle University.

Citing the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, as well the government restrictions, the Supreme Court gave law graduates from Visayas and Mindanao the option to take the Bar Exam either in Manila or Cebu City. Once domestic travel restrictions have been lifted, a site visit shall be conducted to find a suitable venue for the said examination.

According to the High Court, this action may lead to the opening of more regional sites in the future. This began in 2002 when the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Cebu City Chapter proposed for Cebu City to be the other site for Bar Examination. Over the years, more requests came after. However, it was only this 2020 when this was finally approved. In the survey conducted by the Philippine Association of Law Schools last February 21, 2020, 89% of the respondents were in favor of the regional site, preferably in Cebu City, for the next bar exams.

Not only that the candidates from Visayas and Mindanao get to experience emotional burden (to be away from their families) when staying Manila, they also must spend sums to sustain their stay there. With regionalization, the problems with logistics brought about by travel restrictions and curfew regulations can be now be addressed. However, to cover the costs of regionalization, a corresponding increase in the Bar Application Fees will be also done.