October 16, 2021 – Education Chief Leonor Magtolis Briones’ passion for education and governance was recognized by the University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) after 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,” Secretary Briones said.

Secretary 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 will be formally presented and awarded to her on October 16 by Ms. 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.

UPLB Chancellor Camacho will give his message on the program before the presentation of the new gumamela hybrid.

A teacher for most of her life, Secretary 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 (UP-NCPAG).

In her term as the Education Chief, Secretary Briones spearheaded the Sulong EduKalidad, the Department’s aggressive campaign to improve the quality of basic education in the Philippines. She also led the establishment of the Education Futures Programme in the Department to study global trends and innovations in basic education system.

Under her leadership, DepEd also developed the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) 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.