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Art Tugade: From slums, millionaire path, to Duterte Cabinet member

The successful entrepreneur and appointed DOTC Secretary of President-elect Duterte served under the Aquino administration as president and chairman of Clark Development Corporation.
By Entrepreneur Staff |


STARTED FROM THE SLUMS. Celebrated entrepreneur Arthur "Art" Tugade will soon serve as the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication, as selected by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. Photo from Invivalink website


President-elect Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday, May 16 named Arthur “Art” Tugade as secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). The two were classmates in San Beda Law School where Tugade graduated cum laude.


Related: Duterte names members of incoming Cabinet

A self-made millionaire, Tugade’s success story almost seem lifted from story books—he grew up in the squatter’s area in Tatalon Estates, Quezon City and worked his way to entrepreneurial success.


“My parents squatted in Tatalon after a fire destroyed our home in Sampaloc (Manila),” Tugade said in an interview with The Philippine Star in 2012.

The young boy could have easily lost his way. But as luck would have it, he was fortunate to have been a scholar of San Beda College from elementary to its Law School.


“I was a product of someone who cared. Now that I have something, I must care. I have to give back,” Tugade said in the same interview, now that he has his own company.




ADMIRED. Founder of Perry's Group of Companies, Tugade believes the firm's greatest assets are his employees, and he makes sure to take care of them with generous benefits. Photo from Clark Development Corporation



Valuing assets

Founder of Perry’s Group of Companies, Tugade shared the company’s office used to be a dumping ground for another computer firm. After two meetings with the owner, he easily acquired the spot.


The company started with Perry’s Realty, which used to buy products from another company then sold it to others for a cheaper price. Even Tugade admitted the concept sounded absurd, but he was convinced it would work.


“It’s hypocrisy to say I’m successful because of me alone. It’s a holistic chemistry, a combination of many things,” Tugade said in the same interview.


Truly, he was not alone. The whole enterprise is a family affair, as his eldest son also setup Transglobal Consolidator’s Inc. the same time he started, which became the first and only formal air and sea freight consolidator in the Philippines in 2003.


In the next decade, Tugade would see the whole business flourish and branch out to other industries—from logistics, trucking, to tourism services.



To date, there are 11 firms under the Perry’s Group of Companies namely: Transglobal Consolidations, APT Travels, Transglobal Trucking, Transglobal Equipment Leasing, Perry’s Fuel, Fizzfashion Mercantile & Trading Inc., Perry’s Farm, Perryome, Perry’s Technologies, and Perry’s Foundation.


Like how he repeatedly says, Tugade did not come this far alone as he believes the company’s greatest assets are no one but his employees.


"The greatest asset of a company are the employees and so if they are the greatest asset, like any other asset, you should take care of them,” Tugade said in a TV interview in GMA-7’s TV Show Bawal ang Pasaway.

And care is surely given to his employees. Apart from their basic monthly salary, his employees receive free lunch every day, monthly grocery allowance, transportation allowance, quarterly bonus, among others.


One point, Tugade sent one of his loyal employees to school who eventually graduated valedictorian. However, the same employee had to leave the company to take care of his child. Tugade let go of him complete with a separation pay, a delivery truck, and a scholarship for the child.



“You better earn a peso where many would benefit than a thousand where you’re the only one who’s happy. I can give everything and anything, as long as I know it’s to someone deserving,” Tugade said in Filipino in the same TV interview.




PUBLIC SERVANT. Tugade has served as the Chairman and President of Clark Development Corporation (CDC) from 2012 to 2013. Under his leadership, the agency had a record-breaking P1.49 billion revenue. Photo from CDC




Serving under the Aquino administration

The multi-hyphenate entrepreneur also served under the Aquino administration as the president and chairman of the Clark Development Corporation for three years. Under his turf, the agency had a record-breaking P1.49 billion ($32.10 million) worth of revenues from 2013 to 2015.


“I served in the government not because of the salary but because of the President’s advocacy: Daang Matuwid (Straight Path). No corruption, just work. I refused to receive or ask for any gifts,” Tugade said in Filipino in the same TV interview.


Tugade eventually resigned from his post in April this year, in support of his friend, Duterte’s presidential bid. – Elyssa Christine Lopez

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