Commissioner JP Peñol hails from the small and bustling town of Pavia in the Province of Iloilo. Before being appointed by President Benigno Aquino III on May 5, 2014 as commissioner representing the Visayas, and with the rank of Assistant Secretary of a department, JP went through ranks in public service. JP is currently the youngest from among the new batch of appointees to the National Youth Commission at age 23 and becomes the first one from Western Visayas to be appointed to the agency.
His life in politics is full of ups and downs but he never gave up. In 2007, he was elected as chairman of their barangay’s Sangguniang Kabataan (SK). Aspiring to bring the voice of the youth in the municipal council, he ran for SK municipal federation presidency but lost by a small margin of votes. The then 16-year old SK chairman believes that his loss in the elections will never hinder him from rendering quality public service to his fellow youth. In the barangay council, he authored the most number of barangay resolutions and ordinances amidst being the youngest member of the chamber.
In 2009, he filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for Municipal Councilor of Pavia, Iloilo at 18 years old. He ran amidst being an independent candidate, thus, he lacked enough funding and machinery. His passion to serve and dedication to work made him stand out from among the many aspirants. He won the hearts of the thousands of Pavianhons, and was recognized by then DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo as the youngest elected municipal councilor in the country during his time.
While at the Sangguniang Bayan, he chaired the sensitive Committee on Transportation and Franchising, and the Committee on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT). He worked without limits and beyond expectations. Again, in spite being the youngest member of the council, he filed the most number of resolutions and ordinances which addressed the needs and the general welfare of the people of Pavia, Iloilo.
Because of his steadfast commitment to serve, then Pavia Mayor now 2nd District, Iloilo Congressman Arcadio Gorriceta encouraged him to run for Vice Mayor, but lost to the son of a former mayor. Again, he never turned his back to serving the people. After the elections, the neophyte congressman asked him to be part of his congressional staff with the rank Chief of Office Operations.
Commissioner JP also founded the Juniors for Progress Movement, which is now on its 11th year of operation. Through the organization, many Ilonggos were sent to school through scholarship grants which he himself solicited from private sectors.
The 23-year old commissioner is also a multi-awarded young leader. Among his many awards were: Outstanding Leader for Politics and Governance 2011 by the United Nations Association of the Philippines (UNAP); Outstanding Expat Pinoy Children – Ibang Klaseng Community Leader by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI); Ayala Young Leader 2011 by the Ayala Group of Companies; Ninoy and Cory Aquino Young Leader 2011 by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF); Outstanding Man of Iloilo 2012 by SM City Iloilo and Sky Cable Iloilo; Pambansang Gawad sa Ulirang Kabataan 2008 by the Department of Education (DepED); and Rank 1 for the Search for Outstanding Secondary School Students of Iloilo 2008 by the Outstanding Students Circle of Iloilo (OSCI).
“I am a proud product of the Philippine public school system,” he always emphasizes because he believes that the quality of education in public schools can be at par and even go beyond with private schools. He graduated as the Class Salutatorian of the Pavia National High School – Special Science Class in the year 2008.
He owes his leadership from his experience as President of the Colegio de San Jose (CSJ) Science Club during his elementary years and as President of the Supreme Student Government (SSG) and the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs (PSYSC) – Western Visayas during his high school years.
Commissioner Peñol is also a decorated campus journalist. During his stint as Editor-in-Chief of The Central Echo, official student media of Central Philippine University in Iloilo City, the said publication was awarded “Best Tabloid” by the School Paper Advisers Movement (SPAM) and the region’s Philippine Information Agency (PIA-6)
A graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the same university, Commissioner Peñol also hopes to enter the College of Law soon.
He is also currently the National Vice Chairman of the Filipino Liberal Youth (FLY) and incorporator of the Filipino League of Youth Development Initiatives, Inc. (FLYDev).
At young age of 18, he authors the book, “Leadership Next: A Guide for Emerging Leaders of the Next Generation.”
Through his appointment in the National Youth Commission, JP’s focus is to bring youth programs and projects of the national government to the grassroots for he believes that “if we give our youth a better life now, we give the Philippines a brighter tomorrow.”
Commissioner JP is the eldest son of Engr. Joel Peñol, a marine engineer and Mrs. Mary Jane Janolino-Peñol, a public school teacher, and a kind brother to Jelmar Jude and Joy Vincent, who also followed his footsteps as President of the school’s student government.