LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—A new gumamela hybrid was named “Leonor Magtolis Briones” in honor of the secretary of the Department of Education.

The University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB) named its new gumamela hybrid after Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones as part of the university’s Women in Public Service series, a news release said.

Briones thanked former UP president and National Scientist Emil Javier, the UPLB, the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) for naming the new Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid after her.

“Thank you very much, I know that [former UP] 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,” Briones said during the ceremony inside the campus.

“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.

The gumamela “Leonor Magtolis Briones” is colored sunset orange with delicate pink lines extending from the center, and yellow blotches of dotting its edges, the UPLB web site said.

Its pinkish overlay is more prominent early in the morning and disappears toward the afternoon.

The “Leonor Magtolis Briones” bears flowers all-year round but bloom only for one day.

This Hibiscus hybrid was developed by Agripina O. Rasco of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), College of Agriculture and Food Science.

UPLB started the Women in Public Service series last 2008, when gumamela hybrids are named after women who have contributed and served their communities and society. Briones will now be joining this long list of recognized Filipinas.

A distinguished teacher, public official and social activist for more than 50 years, Briones served as vice president for Administration and Finance of the UP System.

Before she was appointed Education Secretary, she was chairman of the Silliman University Board of Trustees, and regent and chairman-designate of the Universidad de Manila.

She has a wealth of experience in administering public institutions. She was secretary to the Commission on Audit, vice president for Finance of the UP System, and she served as National Treasurer of the Philippines.

Her academic and professional competencies range from business administration, accounting, public finance, public policy and administration.

“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.

Searca Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio lauded Briones’s efforts to ensure learning continuity and described how the Department of Education 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.

“For a woman who continues to bloom brightly, we dedicate the Hibiscus rosa-Sinensis ‘Leonor Magtolis Briones’ to an excellent and radiant woman in public service,” said UPLB’s message to Briones.

The ceremony was also graced by 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.





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