Bar exams next year will also be held in Cebu

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - May 4, 2020 - 12:00am

For our special presentation on our talk show “Straight from the Sky”, for the first time I will present the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) led in Region 7 by Maj. Gen. (ret) Marlou Salazar. I have always known that the OCD is the government agency implementing disaster relief, risk reduction management in this pandemic. The OCD is also a major frontliner in this war against an unseen enemy that has brought the world to its knees.

Salazar also heads the Regional Inter Agency Task Force and Management in cooperation with the local government units in Region 7. So please watch this show tonight on SkyCable’s channel 53 at 8 p.m. with replays on Wednesday and Saturday same time and channel. We also have replays on MyTV’s channel 30 at 9 p.m. Monday and at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.

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If there is anything that we learned while doing studies and research on the COVID-19 pandemic it’s that North Korea has no report of COVID-19 infections or deaths. However, we’ve always wondered what has happened to Kim Jong Un who disappeared for 20 days. He was notably absent during North Korea’s great celebration of his grandfather Kim Jung Il, then out of the blue North Korean media showed him resurfacing on May 2,2020. But I believe this was an earlier video of a previous event, except that they put a new date for May 2, 2020. So was that a Communist propaganda to fool people that Kim Jong Un is still alive?

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If there is any kind of news I’m looking for it is a non-COVID-19 report and, yes, I’m quite elated by the news that the Bar exams for 2021 might be held in Cebu as part of the Supreme Court’s regionalization of the Bar exams. This was one topic that my good friend, former University of Cebu-College of Law Dean Baldomero Estenzo, has been pushing for for years. Indeed, for people living far away from Metro Manila, it is an expensive proposition compared to people already living there.

It is a fact that when I was studying Law in USC 43 years ago, my classmates already intimated to me that taking the Bar in Manila meant that many of our classmates would have to find work first to earn something before taking the Bar. Fortunately, things are beginning to change when we learned that the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta and 2020 Bar chairman Associate Justice Marvic Leonen agreed to hold two separate venues for the 2021 Bar exams – one in Manila and the other in Cebu. The University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila has been the venue for Bar exams since 2011. Wow! Call it the new normal for the SC!

Estenzo explained that about 95% of UC College of Law students are working to support their studies. In order for them to travel to Manila to prepare and take the Bar exam they would have to spend around P200,000 to P300,000. He added, “This is a double whammy because when they travel to Manila, they would have to leave their jobs in Cebu, and they need the money to finance their Bar exams preparations. Some of them are married and have children, so they carry with them not just the financial baggage but also the emotional and psychological baggage.”

Among the documents submitted to the High Court were resolutions from the then Cebu City Council and from the then Cebu Provincial Board, expressing their support for regionalized Bar exams, and yes, we fully support this move saying it’s about time they did it!

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There is no question that this global pandemic called COVID-19 will bring drastic changes to our economy, which means we have to adopt a “new normal” way in conducting our businesses. This was the outlook of Emmanuel V. Rubio, AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer who said, “We will continue to adapt to the constantly changing business climate due to the pandemic situation and make further adjustments when necessary, to sustain the business while providing the much-needed support for our stakeholders.”

He also reported that they recorded a consolidated net income of P2.1 billion for the first quarter of 2020, lower than the P3.6 billion recorded in the same period last year due to ECQ.

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