UP asks public: Don't steal sunflowers

By Janvic Mateo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 22 2014 01:50 AM | Updated as of Apr 22 2014 09:50 AM

MANILA, Philippines - An official of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City appealed to the public yesterday not to uproot the sunflowers planted along UP’s avenue in time for the graduation ceremony on Sunday.

“Can’t we discipline ourselves?” Alden Aynera, acting director of the UP campus maintenance office, told The STAR in Filipino yesterday.

“It’s neither logical nor practical to place guards in the entire length of the avenue just to secure the flowers,” he added. “Signages should have been enough.”

Aynera was reacting to a post on social media site Facebook showing photos of a family supposedly uprooting stalks of sunflowers despite signs prohibiting the act.

“I was taking pictures of the sunflowers in UP this afternoon when I saw a mother and her 3 daughters uprooting stalks of sunflowers,” student Hazel Lapitan shared on her Facebook account on Friday.

“They weren’t just picking the flowers, they took more than 3 stalks of the whole plant and put them in their trunk,” she added.

Aynera said they have encountered similar incidents in the past, but it was the first time that photos of the incident have gone viral on the Internet.

“It helped us (because more people are now aware of our problem). We have been guarding the sunflowers for a long time,” he said.

The sunflowers have been considered an icon of the university, planted early in the year so that the flowers would bloom in time for the graduation in April.

Aynera said the university spends up to P400,000 for the planting and maintenance of the sunflowers.

He said they are also looking at the possibility of conducting research to develop a sunflower specie that would be resistant to extreme weather conditions, specifically for rainy days.

The Diliman campus last month approved the academic calendar change, which will move the graduation from April to June.

He said they will continue planting sunflowers in time for the graduation in June next year, but he could not guarantee that the flowers will bloom the same way as sunflowers thrive in heat and not in rainy weather.