LAW school deans and officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are supporting the latest efforts to hold the Bar exams in Cebu City.

They are confident that the required 1,000 law graduates, who would choose to take the exam in this city to decentralize the test, will be attained.

“We continue to hope and wait for a positive development to this long-time request,” said lawyer Mae Elaine Bathan, in a text message.

Bathan is the IBP Eastern Visayas governor and also assistant dean of the University of San Jose-Recoletos College of Law.

Retired Court of Appeals Justice Portia Hormachuelos announced Tuesday that the 2016 Bar examinations committee of the Supreme Court agreed to hold the exams in Cebu City.

But the High Court requires at least 1,000 law graduates to take the Bar exams in the city, said Hormachuelos, dean of the Gullas Law School.

Bathan said she is confident that the required number will be attained.

“I hope the Supreme Court will, this time, seriously consider regionalizing the Bar exam as this will greatly help the barristers from the provinces,” said Bathan.

Baldemero Estenzo, dean of the College of Law of the University of Cebu, said he would be “extremely happy” if the Bar regionalization pushes through.

“For years we have been asking for the regionalization of the Bar examination in order to level the field for the examinees. Bar candidates from the provinces spend so much money staying in Manila for the Bar,” said Estenzo in a text message.

Bar-takers are far from their families, and it is normal for them to miss their family members.

“Hence, they cannot fully concentrate on their preparation for the exams,” said Estenzo.

Estenzo also said that Bar candidates do not have access to the review materials in Manila unlike when they are in Cebu where they will have free access to their school library facilities.

Gonzalo Malig-on, IBP Cebu Province chapter president, said regionalizing the Bar exams will level the playing field.

“It’s a good gesture to start with. But, I hope the Supreme Court will reconsider the threshold because that would still be many years from now to reach if we will only base on the Cebu examinees,” said Malig-on.

He hopes the High Court would reconsider the 1,000 required numbers of examinees, such as by making some adjustment on the exam fees for those who prefer to take the exams in Cebu City.

Joan Largo, dean of the University of San Carlos College of Law, said law school deans in the Visayas and Mindanao have been fighting for the regionalization of the Bar exams.

Interviewed over radio dyHP, Largo said the High Court asked for data from law schools outside of Metro Manila to determine logistical requirements needed to hold the exam in the province.

Thus, the question on whether or not the Bar exam will be held in Cebu City will be based on data the law schools from Visayas and Mindanao could provide the High Court, said Largo.

She said the required 1,000 Bar-takers may be achieved if graduates from the Visayas and Mindanao prefer to take the test in Cebu City.

For his part, Hidelito Pascual, IBP Cebu City chapter president, said they will pass a resolution asking the High Court to allow the holding of Bar exams in Cebu City.

A Bar-taker would spend at least P100,000 during the review and taking of exam in Manila.

In December 2013, the High Court issued a resolution heeding to the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant to allow the bar examination committee to look into the proposal of the Cebu City Council.

The City Council forwarded to the High Court a resolution asking it to hold the exam outside Metro Manila for the benefit of barristers in the provinces.