New lawyers urged to practice in provinces

MANILA — To help contribute to economic development in areas that need it the most, senators on Thursday urged the 3,747 bar exam passers to practice their profession in their home provinces.

Among them was Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III who lauded this year’s bar passers and gave special mention to topnotchers, all of whom graduated from law schools outside Metro Manila.

The University of San Carlos in Cebu City led all law schools with a total of four topnotchers, followed by Silliman University in Dumaguete City with three.

Pimentel, who hails from Cagayan de Oro and topped the bar in 1990, said that it is a positive sign for legal education in the Philippines as a whole, as it will encourage more prospective law students from Visayas and Mindanao to study closer to home.

“I believe that this year’s Bar results highlight the fact that the Philippines is not Metro Manila alone, and that the best and the brightest of the country can be found in the provinces outside the capital,” Pimentel said in a statement.

“This is a sign — a sign that we really should focus on bringing development to the regions. And I believe our 3,747 new lawyers can help in this regard,” he added.

He, meanwhile, expressed confidence that many new lawyers will have plenty of opportunities in their provinces with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders to focus on accelerating regional development.

“While I recognize that at present most of the opportunities for lawyers can be found in Metro Manila, I encourage our new lawyers to look forward, give back to their home towns, and help the government bring progress and prosperity to their provinces,” he added.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, also a lawyer, urged the bar passers to defend the country’s constitutional democracy.

“Uphold the rule of law! Defend our freedoms and our constitutional democracy,” Pangilinan said in a separate statement.

Neophyte Sherwin Gatchalian echoed Pangilinan and also asked the new lawyers to help those in need.

“Congratulations to our country’s new lawyers! Always remember to uphold the rule of law and be of service to those in need,” Gatchalian said. Azer N. Parrocha/