THE University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) has recognized Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones, naming a new gumamela hybrid in her honor.
Now in its 21st year, the Women in Public Service series names Gumamela or “Hibiscus rosa-sinensis” hybrids after women who have dedicated their time and effort to public service.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to have a wonderful variant of Gumamela named after me. As a nature lover and educator, I appreciate UPLB’s Women in Public Service series that recognizes outstanding Filipino women in government,” Briones said.
Briones was nominated by Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, and duly endorsed by the UPLB Screening Committee on naming Hibiscus, Mussaenda, and other Ornamental Plants.
The newest Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Leonor M. Briones” was named under the DepEd secretary for her outstanding contributions to society by setting professional standards for public servants and introducing basic education reform initiatives.
Developed by the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), the new hybrid dedicated to Briones was formally presented and awarded to her on October 16 by Agripina Rasco, Plant Breeder from IPB; Dr. Jose V. Camacho Jr., UPLB Chancellor; Dr. Merdelyn Lit, Chair 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.
A teacher for most of her life, Briones has taught young children in church schools and students in undergraduate, master’s and doctoral studies. She was conferred as Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance.
In her term as the education chief, Briones spearheaded the Sulong EduKalidad, DepEd’s aggressive campaign to improve the quality of basic education in the Philippines. She also led the establishment of the Education Futures Programme in DepEd to study global trends and innovations in basic education system.
Under her leadership, DepEd also developed the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative has ensured learning continuity while safeguarding the health and well-being of learners, teachers and personnel.
Recently, Briones pushed for the prioritization of teachers in the vaccination program of the national government and the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.