bar exams

Supreme Court pushes for full vaccination of approved Bar applicants

Lian Buan

BAR EXAMS. Thousands of Bar hopefuls take the first Sunday of the 2019 Bar on November 3, 2019.

KD Madrilejos/Rappler

The Court has had 'positive discussions' with the government to vaccinate Bar takers who do not fall under priority groups

The Supreme Court is talking with the national government to include in the list of eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations those approved to take the coming 2020/2021 Bar Examinations. The Bar Exams will be held physically in various local sites this November.

“We are working with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to include in the country’s vaccination program bar applicants who do not fall under any of the above categories. We have had positive discussions with the Vaccine Czar regarding this request,” said Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, chairman of this year’s Bar, in a bulletin released Wednesday, August 11.

The government is now vaccinating up to the A4 priority group which include the so-called economic front liners. It depends on local governments how much supply they have, and how liberal they are with the defining an economic front liner, or those who need to go out to work.

“In the meantime, we strongly encourage every bar applicant who fall under the priority groups to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said the bulletin.

It does not appear though that there would be a “no-vaccine, no-exam policy,” at least not yet. When asked about this possibility, Supreme Court Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said: “I don’t think that was mentioned in the Bar bulletin.”

This is the first time that the Bar Examinations are localized, with a first confirmed local site in Baguio City, and possibly 24 others.

It is also the biggest Bar ever as it will accommodate graduates of 2020 and 2021. The 2020 Bar was canceled last year, also the first in history, because of the pandemic.

COVID-19 tests

The Supreme Court added in the Bar bulletin that “we are also working on the possible procurement of COVID-19 testing kits for bar examinees.”

It is uncertain whether a negative COVID-19 test is required for every week of the Bar Exams, what kind of test is required, and if the examinees will shoulder the cost of these tests.

The Bar Exams will be held on all four Sundays of November.

“Let us wait for the COVID-19 Health Protocols for the coming Bar exams which according to the Bar Chair, J. Leonen, will be out early October,” Hosaka said.

The bulletin said the release of protocols is in October, “when we have an informed view of the possible situation at that time.”

“We have also been preparing for various scenarios and actively monitoring developments from several credible sources,” said the bulletin – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.