March 2, 2024

John Rhey Langbao Mananeng is the new Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president and ex-officio city councilor.
The 22-year-old bested three other politically and money-backed candidates – a sad scene for the young who, at this early stages have been subjected to machinations, manipulations and strategem.
Meeting with him over a cup of coffee with Selma, Jen and Dolor brought back memories of how I started in public service at age 15 as a Kabataang Bayan and federation officer. The experience led me to become a lawyer, congressman, councilor and Law school dean of Saint Louis University.
It was national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal who said “The youth is the hope of the fatherland” and coincidentally John Rhey and Jose Rizal have the same initials – JR.
My impression of JR exudes the new generation of the youth today and hopefully will continue to do what we have started – service, independence, good principles and a sincere desire to improve the lives of his people.
He traces his roots to Besao, Mountain Province. Like him, I started my education at public schools in Lucban Elementary School where mama was a teacher. He studied at Quirino Hill ES, then went on to junior and senior high at the Pines City National High School and Easter College Inc. respectively. From the time he set foot in school he was determined, consistent and finished with honors.
He is now in his senior year taking up Education, in the Dean’s List, and majoring in Social Studies at SLU.
We admire his choice in his career path. In fact, we give scholarships to poor but deserving high school grads who will take up Education as they will impart knowledge to the youth once they are done.
Today, JR becomes a partner in the quest for non-traditional governance; tomorrow he will go on to become a leader not only of his sector but the entire city.
“The educated youth is the hope of the fatherland.” With Education and hopefully Law as his course, he will be able to equip himself with solid knowledge that will elevate him to accomplish his dreams, ambitions, personal and professional purpose in life.
It was not all work and play for the young leader for he was also active in extracurricular roles in his community. He was a Barangay Council for the Protection of Children representative, QHES treasurer then SPG president, PCNHS Supreme Student Government (SSG) public relations officer, and ECI SSG business manager. He was federation president of the Philippine Mental Health Association- Cordillera Chapter Inc. and held various posts in the Cordillera Southern Baptist Church Ministries Inc. Youth Department. He was twice a Congressional Leadership and Sen. JV Ejercito Leadership awardee. There are many more he achieved in his young life but for lack of space I could not mention otherwise my editor would bust me.
In the end, I see that he will excel in his future role and contribute to the well-being of his constituents. He should always bear in mind though that the key to success in life is
not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of himself.
JR now stands six feet tall among his peers. But hard work is waiting as he steers the youth through difficult times amidst the patronage politics hanging like a dagger on his head. He must go through his term with a big smile and a big heart and not be a stamp pad or a member of the silent majority at the SP.
While he pursues his goals and take on a different path, let me cite the Indian Swahili proverb which says “There are three things that if a man does not know, he cannot live long in the world – What is too much for one, what is too little for one, and what is just enough for one.”
I am confident JR will all live a long and fruitful political and other life because he knows what is too much for him, what is too little for him, and what is just right for him.
Sigh.