Duterte campaign spokesman defends wife’s post in new admin

MANILA, Philippines – The campaign spokesman of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte defended his wife from criticism after she was picked as an agriculture undersecretary of the incoming administration.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, June 7, Peter Laviña said his wife, Evelyn Gonzales Laviña, is qualified for the position of agriculture undersecretary in charge of high-value crops and gave her background in agriculture.

“This is not to blow the horn for my wife Evelyn G Lavina. But I have to give her background why she was taken in by [incoming] Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol as one of his undersecretaries and assigned to handle high value crops. It's all actually about her and not me as one of the those involved in the campaign of President Rody Duterte,” Laviña said.

He said that Evelyn, who “studied pharmacy and the medicinal values of plants,” came from a family with agriculture-based businesses she helped manage, a rice farm and fishponds in Davao del Norte. The family later sold the fishponds and ventured into a mango plantation intercropped with coffee and cacao.

“She was also one of the pioneers in catfish production in Davao City,” Laviña said.

He said Evelyn served as president of the Floriculture Industry of Davao, Incorporated (FIDI); founding treasurer of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Incorporated (CIDAMI); and vice president for agribusiness of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry Incorporated (DCCCII).

She is also a member of the Davao Food Processors Association “and has studied product development, packaging and marketing, doing benchmarking in Japan, China, Hong Kong and Thailand," said Laviña. – Rappler.com