The designation is contained in DA Special Order 1107 “Assigning DA officials as alternate representative of the Secretary to various boards, councils, committees, and other organizations and groups” dated November 21, 2016.
As the DA Secretary’s alternate in the Governing Council, Usec. Laviña is tasked with the responsibility of carrying out Secretary Piñol’s development agenda of providing faster and easier access to credit for marginalized farmers and fishers.
For this role, Usec. Laviña will again draw from her firsthand knowledge and experience in agriculture and fisheries that she has gained from a lifetime of learning.
Before joining the DA, Usec. Laviña untiringly worked for the promotion of agribusiness in Davao during her involvement in various professional/civic organizations and chambers. These include the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (CIDAMI) as founding Treasurer; President of the Floriculture Industry of Davao Inc. (FIDI); Treasurer of the Agricultural Development Board of Davao; Treasurer of Mindanao Orchid Society; Davao Food Processors Association; and Vice President for Agribusiness of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII).
Usec Laviña is no stranger to farming despite being a Davao City lass. As the eldest among the eight siblings of couple Virgilio Gonzales and Emily Bantolinao, her upbringing involved helping manage the family rice farm and fishponds in Davao del Norte where they raise tiger prawns and milkfish. She then ventured into high-value crops when the 30-hectare fishpond property was later sold. The family replaced it with a 35-hectare mango farm in Davao del Sur which Usec. Laviña intercropped with coffee and cacao. Wanting to broaden her management skills, she again ventured into aquaculture as one of the pioneers in catfish production in Davao City.
Usec. Laviña taught at the University of Immaculate Concepcion right after graduating with a degree in Pharmacy. An educator, she believes in the value of continuous learning. She received various trainings in business development which include international exposures on food safety and food packaging (Thailand; Beijing); market study (Japan; Hongkong), and partnership building for voluntary business support organizations (Australia).
These experiences and trainings strengthened her advocacy in promoting agri-enterprises in Davao. Usec. Laviña also hosted a television program in Davao titled Mag-Agri sa Dabaw where she helped in promoting agribusiness particularly in high value crops (banana, pineapple, mango, vegetables, coconut, oil palm, and herbal plants), livestock and poultry as well as aquaculture, organic farming, hydroponics, and others.
In a short time after being designated as High Value Crops and Rural Credit Undersecretary, Usec. Laviña, together with Secretary Piñol, was able to link farmers and fishers with big supermarkets and food chains. She is currently working with the onion farmers’ group to determine how much financing is needed for marketing purposes to implement the onion supply agreement with these volume buyers. She has also signified her intention to reduce the documentary requirements and interest rate on these loans.
Usec. Laviña is married to former Davao City Councilor and now newly-appointed National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Peter T. Laviña. They have four children: Lenin Angelo or LA, a 29-year old computer graphic artist; Roschelin or Muchy, the 27-year old marketing and communications graduate who is into modelling; Kyra Angeline or Angel, a 25-year old food technology graduate; and the youngest, Eccel Deo or XC, 17-year old marketing student.