/ 21 October 2021

EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones thanked the University of the Philippines Los Baños for naming a gumamela hybrid after her.

In an intimate ceremony inside the campus, Briones thanked former president and National Scientist Emil Javier, the UPLB, the Institute of Plant Breeding and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture for the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Leonor Magtolis Briones” gumamela hybrid plant.

“Thank you very much, I know that President Javier practically mobilized everyone, thank you SEARCA for making all the arrangements and the nominations. And of course, thank you to the Institute of Plant Breeding,” she said.

“For my birthday, this is an award which was not solicited at all. That makes it more precious and surprising,” Briones, who recently celebrated her 81st birthday, added.

UPLB started the Women in Public Service series in 2008 where Gumamela or “Hibiscus rosa-sinensis” hybrids are named after women who have contributed and served their communities and society.

A distinguished teacher, public official and social activist for more than 50 years. Briones served as vice president for Administration and Finance of the University of the Philippines System. Before she was appointed Education Secretary, she was the chairman of the Silliman University Board of Trustees and Regent and Chair-Designate of the Universidad de Manila.

She was also the secretary of the Commission on Audit, vice president for Finance of the University of the Philippines System and served as treasurer of the Philippines.

“The life, contribution, and experiences of Ma’am Liling in the academe and government service for more than 50 years, perfectly fit the Women in Public Service series,” Dr. Jose Camacho, UPLB Chancellor noted in his message.

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, lauded Briones’ efforts to ensure learning continuity and described how DepEd supported and guided the institution.

“You could see here how Ma’am Liling has shown how resilient she is, teaching every one of us that learning should never stop,” Gregorio said.

The ceremony was also graced by Agripina Rasco, Plant Breeder from IPB; Dr. Merdelyn Lit, chairman of the Committee on Naming Hibiscus, Mussaenda and Other Ornamentals and Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension; Dr. Elpidio M. Agbisit Jr., Dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Science; and Dr. Fe de la Cueva, IPB Director.