By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
Legal education in Iloilo City is thriving as two state universities will soon have a building for the Juris Doctor program.
The West Visayas State University (WVSU) and University of the Philippines Visayas-Iloilo City campus (UPV) will each have a dedicated law building, with construction set to begin this year.
On Friday last week, WVSU held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the P800-million twin four-story law building.
The building’s construction is funded under the General Appropriations Act of 2024.
This state-of-the-art facility will be equipped with a key card access system, solar panels, and two elevators.
It will also house various facilities, including an auditorium, a prayer room, designated faculty areas, a conference space, a library, the Journal for Law Advocacy Office, a legal clinic, an arbitration room, and two moot courts.
The facade of the law building will integrate elements from the Quezon Hall, the historical landmark of WSVU.
First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, who has been a faculty member at WVSU’s College of Law since 2022, graced the groundbreaking ceremony.
WVSU President Joselito Villaruz said the first lady, along with House Speaker Martin Romualdez, played a crucial role in securing funds for the building’s construction.
“For the past years, we have had no capital outlay insertion in the budget… And for the first time, she (Liza Araneta-Marcos) facilitated the insertion of P400 million for the COL building with the help of Speaker Martin Romualdez,” he said.
WVSU is the first and only state university offering legal education in the Western Visayas Region, having started accepting students for the Juris Doctor program in 2020.
“We are looking at the possibility of expanding the program to increase the number of law students that will be entering the university. But now that they already have a home, we expect them to perform very well because they have all the amenities na,” Villaruz added.
Commission on Higher Education Chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III, who also graced the groundbreaking ceremony, said that the Legal Education Board (LEB) is mandating law schools to establish a dedicated building
“The WVSU College of Law building will do two things. [First], it will start complying with the LEB and [second], it will allow the law school to increase its student population,” he said.
Meanwhile, preparations are also underway for the construction of a new P100-million building for the UP College of Law within the UPV Iloilo City campus.
Retired Supreme Court Associate Francis Jardeleza confirmed the information to Daily Guardian on the sideline of the turnover of the newly constructed and refurbished classrooms of UP High School in Iloilo City on Thursday.
Jardeleza said a P100-million budget was set aside for the UP College of Law-Iloilo building that will be constructed this year.
The building will be constructed on the lot on which the UPV Iloilo City campus cafeteria is currently standing.
Atty. Andre Palacios, the Faculty Coordinator for UP College of Law extension classes in UP Visayas, noted that the necessary funds were part of UP’s 2024 budget, and they have now initiated the initial stages of the project.