Duterte campaign spokesperson appointed NIA administrator

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 Nov) – Peter T. Laviña, a former city councilor here and spokesperson of the campaign team of then presidential candidate and now President Rodrigo R. Duterte, has been appointed as new administrator of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced Laviña’s appointment and that of Engr. Czar Sulaik as deputy administrator for operations on his Facebook post Tuesday morning.

Laviña served for three terms as city councilor of Davao from 2001 to 2010 while Sulaik, who was recommended to head NIA, served as Piñol’s provincial irrigation officer of North Cotabato during his time as the governor.

The agriculture chief said that he came to know about the two NIA executives’ appointment after Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, head of the Presidential Management Staff, informed him on Monday in Malacañang.

“Laviña’s appointment as the new NIA head is a welcome relief for the Department of Agriculture especially since the agency, while officially under the Office of the President, is one of the most important agencies supporting Philippine agriculture,” he said.

Laviña’s wife, Evelyn, was named last June 9 as DA undersecretary.

Mrs. Laviña was affiliated with several floral and agriculture-based organizations such as Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (CIDAMI) as founding treasurer and served as vice president for agribusiness of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. (DCCCII) “where she developed an extensive network among those involved in high value crops like banana, pineapple, mango, vegetables, livestock, poultry, coconut, oil palm, aquaculture, herbal plants, organic farming, hydroponics, among others.”

Mrs. Laviña heads the Floriculture Industry of Davao Inc. and ventured into landscaping business while being active in orchids and ornamental plant business.

With Mr. Laviña on board, Piñol said that he expects a smoother coordination between the DA and the water agency of the government, more specifically in the area of the scheduling of the release of irrigation for the rice farms which have been set aside for so long.

“During the Presidential campaign, Pete handled the role of an able spokesperson who articulated the position of then presidential candidate Duterte because of his closeness to the then city mayor,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)