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Bridge builder

How Brigada Group created the change it wanted to see

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The Catulpos family and Brigada officials during the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Brigada Group headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing plant that will rise on a 12-hectare property in General Santos City, Philippines.

THE Brigada Group of Companies, Inc is known to the Filipino public as a tri-media news and entertainment organisation with a conglomerate of business companies engaged in pharmacy, distribution of pharmaceuticals, food supplements, household products, cosmetics, security services and garden resort management.

The Group was founded by Elmer Villegas Catulpos, president and chief executive officer, who in 2005, at the age of 29, started to build the Philippines' largest marketing media firm, and in the end pioneered a unique symbiosis of media and product distribution businesses, which combined independent reportage and reliable marketing.

The Group now has more than 40 state of the art News-FM radio stations spread in key areas in the Philippines, which provide localised programming.

These stations are utilised to market the Group's products, which are made available through outlets like its own Brigada Pharmacy and drug store giants like Watsons and other leading drugstores in the Philippines.

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The growth of Brigada came at a time when many local media companies were dependent on ad revenues from multinational firms and politicians.

Seeing media companies compromise journalistic independence for much needed revenue, Brigada invested in establishing Brigada Healthline Corp., a products and services business that serves as the financial backbone of Brigada, thus giving the company's media outfits the desired journalistic independence.

The Group's food supplement distribution business was started in 2006, and it now owns 60 product brands.

Mr Catulpos began business with only one graphic artist working alongside him. Currently the Group employs over 1,000 employees who appreciate the origin of Brigada, and take pride in being part of the realisation of the Brigada dream and experience.

Many of the Group's workforce see the company as a means to strengthening self-worth and fulfilling their aspirations.