Zamboanga City

Zamboanga prepares for hundreds of Bar examinees this weekend

Frencie Carreon
Zamboanga prepares for hundreds of Bar examinees this weekend

BAR TEST. The Ateneo de Zamboanga University where hundreds of Bar examinees will flock this weekend.

Ateneo de Zamboanga University

City hall says it would go strict on imposing health protocols on about a thousand people from all over the Zamboanga Peninsula region who would take the Bar exams at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The city government would strictly impose stringent public health protocols even as it prepares for hundreds of law graduates expected to flock to Zamboanga to take the Bar examinations this weekend.

The city expects about a thousand people from all over the Zamboanga Peninsula region to take the Bar exams scheduled at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) on February 4 and February 6.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco issued an executive order to temporarily close to the public a major commercial hub in downtown Zamboanga on Friday and Sunday. La Purisima, Governor Alvarez, and Nuñez streets would be closed to vehicular traffic from 4 am to 7 pm during the two days reserved for the bar exams.

Climaco also declared the areas surrounding the ADZU campus no-parking zones, designating specific drop-off and pick-up points on the occasion of the bar exams.

City administrator Michael Saavedra told Rappler, “We will have sufficient personnel on the ground to manage the proposed rerouting and closure of streets near the testing center.”

City hall said it would go strict on imposing health protocols on those who would take the exams in Zamboanga City.

Examinees are expected from law schools in Pagadian and Dipolog cities where, like Zamboanga City, have two law schools each. Aside from ADZU, the city-based Western Mindanao State University (WSMU) also has a college of law.

Zamboanga City as well as Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay will be under Alert Level 3 until February 15, based on the recommendation of the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Climaco’s Executive Order No. BC 703-2022 provides that fully vaccinated examinees will be required to undergo an antigen test at least 48 hours before the examination. 

Unvaccinated examinees will be required to present RT-PCR test results to show that they are COVID-19-free. The test should be made within 72 hours before the first day of the examination.  

Based on the EO, those who tested positive will be denied entry at the testing center.

Climaco said examinees who had recovered from COVID-19 will be asked to present affidavits, stating under oath that they have been certified recovered, certificates of completion of isolation, and antigen test results at least 48 hours before the examination.

Local officials said Zamboanga City saw an unprecedented surge in the number of COVID-19 cases this month. The city government also saw several of its workers infected, prompting Climaco to postpone her January 24 state-of-the-city address.

In a public advisory, the city government said, “We urge the public to strictly comply with our minimum public health standards. Wear face masks, frequently wash/sanitize hands, and practice physical distancing as well as avoid the 3 Cs – closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact settings.”

The EO was issued based on the request of Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvin Mario Leonen, who is overseeing this year’s Bar examinations to be conducted in key areas of the country.

The Bar examinations will be the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented many law graduates from taking it in 2020 and 2021. In pre-pandemic times, the Bar exams – the most difficult professional licensure test given in the country – were given on four Sundays only in Metro Manila. After its second postponement in late 2021, the Supreme Court announced that it decided to hold this year’s examinations for two days only. 

Zamboanga-based law professor Quirino Esguerra welcomed the first Bar exams in the city, saying it would give aspiring lawyers in the region the chance to take it near their homes, and without having to proceed to Manila.

“This will level up their chances of making it good as they have their respective families giving them moral support while undergoing the rigors of the exam.” –

Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship

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