(File photo)

MANILA – The Bar Examination will push through this month amid calls to cancel it for the third straight year due to the pandemic and the destruction caused by Typhoon Odette in December.

The Supreme Court (SC) announced Tuesday that the Bar exam with revised coverage will be held on January 23 and 25, with examinees taking four sets of examinations, pro hac vice (for this occasion only).

For the first time, the exam will be held in multiple sites.

Previous Bar exams were held for four Sundays with two subjects each and at the University of Santo Tomas as the venue in recent years.

Before the announcement, the Bar exam was supposed to be held on January 16, 23, 30, and February 6.

"In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, fueled by its new dominant variant (Omicron), and the effects of Typhoon Odette, the Supreme Court, upon the recommendation of the Bar Chairperson, has resolved to reduce the coverage and shorten the duration of the 2020/21 bar examination," the SC said in a statement, referring to the en banc resolution.

Examinees must quarantine starting January 9 or at least two weeks before the Bar Examination.

Under the new multiple sites system, applicants selected their local testing center venue.

Applicants from remote areas were prioritized.

The last time the Bar exam was held in 2019, a total of 2,103 passed out of 7,685 hopefuls.

Mae Diane Azores of the University of Sto. Tomas - Legazpi (formerly Aquinas University) was the last topnotcher with a grade of 91.05 percent.

“The Philippines has produced no lawyer since the pandemic. But while the Bar Examination may no longer be postponed, it can be held in a way that is more humane. With these changes, the Court strikes that balance,” an SC statement read. (PNA)