NEARLY 500 bar examinees from across Mindanao had participated in the first day of the two-day 2022 National Bar examination in Davao City on Friday, February 4, while some were prohibited from taking the exam after testing positive for coronavirus.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Spokesperson Maria Teresita Gaspan told SunStar Davao in a phone interview on Friday, February 4, that a total of 145 personnel provided security to 478 examinees at the Ateneo de Davao University Senior High School campus in Bangkal.

Gaspan said the figure of the examinees came from the data provided by the Supreme Court (SC).

Based on their monitoring, the police official said no untoward incidents were reported and that minimum health protocols were strictly ensured during the event.

Gaspan said supporters of the examinee were allowed to escort them until the drop-off area but were not allowed to stay longer to avoid mass gathering.

"So far, peaceful and normal man ang kasikas (the situation is normal). Wala may untoward na incident (There are no reported untoward incident)," she said.

The second day of the exam will be on Sunday, February 6.

Meanwhile, Davao City Covid-19 Task Force Spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser confirmed in a radio interview on the same day that some examinees were not able to take their examination after testing positive for coronavirus.

Schlosser declined to give figures as the task force is still trying to collate the data from the contact tracer.

The health official said the mandatory negative Covid-19 test result is also a requirement set by the SC and the city government. Examinees must present the result taken not longer than 72 hours.

"Unfortunate gyud siya kay gipreparahan baya ni siya sa atong mga (This is unfortunate since this had been prepared by our) future lawyers," Schlosser said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

SC issued on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 a new order shortening the duration of the 2020-2021 Bar examinations "pro hac vice" (for this occasion only) from its traditional four consecutive Sundays to only two days this January with a one-day interval.

The order issued on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 set the new schedule of the bar examination on Sunday, January 23, 2022 and Tuesday, January 25, instead of the four Sundays—January 16, 23, 30 and February 6.

In a statement, the SC, upon the recommendation of Bar chairperson and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, also decided to reduce the coverage of the exams from the usual eight subjects to four sets of examinations due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of Typhoon Odette in some areas of the country.

“The Court noted that the Bar examinees for this coming Bar have reviewed for longer than all the other batches taking the Bar exams under very difficult conditions,” the SC said in a statement.

The four sets of examinations encompassing the usual eight subjects are the following:

1.) The Law Pertaining to the State and its Relationship with Its Citizens (formerly Political Law, Labor Law and Taxation Law);

2.) Criminal Law;

3.) The Law Pertaining to Private Personal and Commercial Relations (formerly Civil Law and Commercial Law); and

4.) Procedure and Professional Ethics (formerly Remedial Law, Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises).

According to the SC’s Bar Bulletin No. 31, series of 2022, bar takers will take two exams, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

All examinees who will be taking the Bar are “strongly advised” to self-quarantine starting January 9, or at least two weeks before the examinations.

They will also be required to undergo an antigen test at least 48 hours before the first examination.

Those who will test positive under the antigen test will be required to undergo a confirmatory RT-PCR test.

Those who will test positive on both will not be admitted to their testing sites.

“These changes pro hac vice seek to meet the demand for new lawyers amid the disasters plaguing the country,” the SC said.

“The Philippines has produced no new lawyer since the pandemic. But while the Bar examinations may no longer be postponed, it can be held in a way that is more humane. With these changes, the Court strikes that balance,” the SC added. (RGL with SunStar Philippines)