A New Day for Barangay New Zaniga, Mandaluyong
Located at the western side of Mandaluyong City, Barangay New Zaniga is proud to serve as a model barangay for the city. From its humble beginnings, today the barangay boasts of many accomplishments, owing to the joint efforts of the current Punong Barangay Liza Cruz, and her predecessor, Edwin E. Cruz.
BY MAIELLE MONTAYRE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL SORIANO
Barangay New Zaniga is one of the 27 barangays of the City of Mandaluyong. Historically, the area used to be a low-lying marshland known as Saniga. The concretization of roads led to the urbanization of the neighboring areas, which was dubbed New Zaniga, while the original was called Old Zaniga.
Today, the barangay has a land area of about 1.95 hectares, and a population of about 11,000 includingchildren/youth. During the day, there are more people because of transient students and workers. They have one private school, the Good Shepherd Christian School.
MR. AND MRS. CRUZ
Punong Barangay (PB) Liza Cruz was elected to position in May 2018. She was previously elected as a Barangay Kagawad (Barangay Councilor) and was awarded one of the most Oustanding Kagawads of the City in 2014. She was also the first Barangay Nutrition Action Officer (BNAO) of Mandaluyong City, under
the leadership of then CNAO (City Nutrition Action Officer) and now Mayor Carmelita Abalos. Through her involvement as a helpmate of then PB Edwin Cruz, she became known throughout the barangay. She is a graduate of Silliman University with a degree in Political Science, and of Jose Rizal University/ Philippine Law School with a degree in law.
“[My husband] has the street smarts, I have the attitude,” she jokes. “Only because my husband entered public service did I join, but there was no guarantee [that I would win]. My passport would have been my credibility as a public servant.” Edwin Cruz, the previous PB, was elected into position in 2007, and has since
served three full terms. He is currently the head of the Anti-Smoke Belching Unit of Mandaluyong
City (ASBU), a position of trust and confidence.
Much of the groundwork in New Zaniga was laid by former PB Edwin Cruz, commencing with
the construction of the existing barangay hall. “We only had a small office in our residence, which served as the barangay hall,” says Liza Cruz. It was where council meetings, assemblies, medical missions, and other barangay activities were held. “It was my primary goal to have our own barangay hall and without it, I would
not have accomplished anything,” Edwin Cruz says. Thus, he vowed that he would not cut his hair until their barangay would have its own seat of government. An endeavor two years in the making, the barangay hall of New Zaniga was inaugurated on July 18, 2010. Then-Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. came to the event to
personally cut off the long ponytail of PB Edwin Cruz. The four-storey structure is deemed to be a towering achievement for New Zaniga, evidence of perseverance towards realizing one’s dream.
FEATHER IN THEIR CAP
New Zaniga is the cleanest barangay as recognized by the Metro Manila Development
Authority (MMDA). The Barangay Power is an MMDA-sponsored competition for all the barangays in Metro Manila. New Zaniga beat out 1,565 barangays and became the grand champion. There are different criteria for the competition—based on size and budget of the barangay, solid waste management and recycling. “We are the gauge of the other barangays with regard to cleanliness,” Liza Cruz says. New Zaniga has its
own street sweepers, aside from those hired by the city, who work until 10PM to maintain the cleanliness of the barangay.