There are now 24, not only 16, testing centers nationwide for the 2020-2021 online bar examinations which will be conducted by the Supreme Court (SC) on Nov. 7, 14, 21, and 28.
The SC said that four other testing centers — three in Metro Manila and one in Central Luzon — are still being considered.
Through Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, chairperson of the bar examinations, the SC said use of testing centers nationwide is aimed at “reducing the examinees travel and accommodation expenses as well as minimizing their transit to comply with public health guidelines in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The SC’s Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) started accepting, also online, applications to take the examinations. Payment of P10,000 per applicant can also be paid online.
Applications will be accepted until Sept. 15.
The testing centers with their maximum available slots:
National Capital Region — Ateneo de Manila University Law School, Ateneo Professional Schools Building, 20 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City (maximum 269 slots); Manila Adventist College, 1975 San Juan Street, Pasay City (maximum 450 slots); University of Makati, J.P. Rizal Extension, West Rembo, Makati City (maximum 1,000 slots); Far Eastern University, Nicanor Reyes, Sampaloc, Manila (maximum 600 slots); and University of Santo Tomas, España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila (maximum 500 slots).
Cordillera Administrative Region — St. Louis University School of Law, A. Bonifacio Street, Baguio City (maximum 1,035 slots).
Region 1 (Ilocos Region) — St. Louis College, Carlatan, San Fernando City, La Union (maximum 1,280 slots).
Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) — Cagayan State University College of Law, Carig Campus – Carig Sur, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan (maximum 421 slots); St. Mary’s University College of Law, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (maximum 259 slots).
Region 4A (CALABARZON) — De La Salle University – Lipa, 1962 Pres. J.P. Laurel National Highway, Lipa City, Batangas (maximum 1,125 slots).
Region 4B (MIMAROPA) — City College of Calapan, Barangay Guinobatan, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro (maximum 200 slots).
Region 5 (Bicol Region) — University of Nueva Caceres, J. Hernandez Avenue, Naga, Camarines Sur (maximum 1,000 slots).
Region 6 (Western Visayas) — Central Philippine University, University Avenue, Jaro, Iloilo City, Iloilo (maximum 475 slots) and University of St. La Salle, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental (maximum 1,340 slots).
Region 7 (Central Visayas) — University of San Jose Recoletos – Basak Campus, N. Bacalso Street, Basak, Pardo, Cebu City (maximum 600 slots); University of Cebu School of Law, UC Banilad, M. Cuenco Avenue, Banilad, Cebu City (maximum 1,000 slots); University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance, University of San Carlos Law Building, Pelaez Street, Cebu City (maximum 200 slots); and Silliman University College of Law, 1 Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental (maximum 1,000 slots).
Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) — Dr. V. Orestes Romualdez Educational Foundation, Calanipawan Road, Barangay Calanipawan, Tacloban City, Leyte (maximum 400 slots).
Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) — Ateneo de Zamboanga University, La Purisima Street, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur (maximum 365 slots).
Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) — Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan College of Law, 73 Corrales Avenue, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental (maximum 240 slots); Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, Andres Bonifacio Avenue, Tibanga, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte (maximum 250 slots).
Region 11 (Davao Region) — Ateneo de Davao University, Senior High School Campus, Bangkal, Davao City (maximum 800 slots).
Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) — Mindanao State University, Fatima, General Santos City (maximum 204 slots).
Leonen said memoranda of agreement had been executed between the SC and the testing centers and “all parties have guaranteed that the required health and safety protocols shall be strictly implemented and that the community quarantine classifications per area shall be respected.”
The OBC’s bulletin also stated:
“Each bar applicant will select their local testing center through the Bar PLUS (Personal Login Unified System). To make the Bar Examinations more inclusive to all examinees, venue-matching will not be on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Applicants from remote areas will be prioritized. Locations within the Philippines will be ranked from the least to the most remote, and the Bar PLUS will first process the choices of the applicants from the most remote locations.
“Applicants may select their chosen local testing centers only after their applications have been approved by the Supreme Court En Banc. The Office of the Bar Confidant will send separate emails to the approved applicants for this purpose.
“The Bar Chairperson also advises the applicants to choose the testing center closest to their residence. This will not only reduce their expenses, but will also free up the slots in vicinities closest to those with the least resources.
“In this pandemic, while we allow the applicants to make their own choices, we hope that they will do so with responsibility and compassion.”