By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: DepEd Philippines

In a current Cabinet dominated by men and former military officials, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones stands out.

Briones, with 80 years of age, is an academician, economist, and public servant. She was appointed to lead the agency despite her senior age.

During the school building inauguration in Valenzuela City on Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte praised Briones’ competence, calling her “brilliant.”

“Nandiyan si Secretary Briones. She’s maybe old but she is a brilliant,” Duterte said in his remarks.

Duterte is also impressed with the official’s competency in academic and professionalism. 

“Well, she is a professor of UP. Maybe summa ka ba, ma’am?” Duterte asked the widely revered Cabinet member.

“She was our national treasurer. So alam niya ang pera talaga gaano kahirap kunin,” Duterte added.

Briones also served as the country’s treasurer and a professor of the University of the Philippines (UP).

Before being appointed as education secretary, Briones was the chair of the Silliman University Board of Trustees, and regent and chair-designate of the Universidad de Manila.

Briones graduated magna cum laude from Siliman University with a business administration degree. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of the Philippines.

Briones obtained a postgraduate diploma in development administration, major in public enterprises, with distinction from Leeds University England.

The President’s latest compliment for Briones came as the country marked National Women’s Month. Duterte earlier committed to pursue programs to advance woman empowerment.

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