1. The Ninth ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting (9th ALMM) was held in Manila on 26-27 November 1992. It was preceded by a Meeting of Senior Officials of ASEAN Labour Ministries on 23-24 November 1992.
2. The 9th ALMM was officially declared open by His Excellency, President Fidel V. Ramos of the Republic of the Philippines. The President emphasised the need to effectively harness human resources for sustained regional economic growth in an environment of greater global competition and urged the Labour Ministers to address human resource development both as a challenge and an opportunity. He cited the need to anticipate changes requiring collective action and cooperation to further strengthen regional economic development.
3. The 9th ALMM was attended by H.E. Pehin Dato Isa Bin Dato HJ Ibrahim, Minister of Home Affairs of Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr, Cosmas Batubara, Minister of Manpower Republic of Indonesia; H.E. Datok Lim Ah Lek, Minister of Human Resources of Malaysia; H.E. Dr. Lee Boon Yang, Minister of Labour, Republic of Singapore; and H.E, Mr, Chaowas Sudlabha, Deputy Minister of Interior of Thailand; and H.E, Ma. Nieves R. Confesor, Secretary of Labour and Employment, Republic of the Philippines. A representative of the Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, Director Mohd Rosli bin Haji Sabtu of the ASEAN Secretariat, was also present.
4. H.E. Ma. Nieves R. Confesor, the Philippines, Secretary of Labour and Employment, and H.E. Dr. Lee Boon Yang, Singapore’s Minister for Labour, were unanimously elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively.
5. The Ministers expressed satisfaction over the implementation of the recommendations of the Eighth ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, on 17 – 18 September 1990. It noted that the ASEAN Project on Training and Information Centre for the Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment (PIACT) has been included in the list of projects under the UNDP’s Fifth Cycle and that steps have been taken to prepare the necessary programme document for possible funding.
6. The Ministers expressed the need for ASEAN to explore the possibility of further collaboration in regional information networking, including the setting up of an ASEAN regional information centre.
7. Recognising the importance of harmonious industrial relations as a catalyst for economic growth, the Ministers endorsed a new project proposal aimed at innovation-oriented strategies to enhance harmonious industrial relations amongst the social partners in ASEAN member-countries, taking into consideration the sociocultural values of the respective ASEAN members.
8. The Meeting noted the human resource development challenges confronting the ASEAN region resulting from the liberalisation of world trade, the globalisation of markets, the emergence of regional trading blocs, and the rapid pace of technological development. The Meeting expressed the view that ASEAN member-countries should intensify their efforts in addressing, among others, changes in employment structure arising from economic and industrial restructuring, the need for increasing labour productivity and improving work environments to maintain an internationally competitive workforce, and continuing manpower training to cope with technological changes in production. The Ministers endorsed the revised ASEAN Project on Human Resource Development Planning and recommended that the Project be implemented on a high priority basis.
9. Given the benefits that technical cooperation has generated in previous programmes, the Ministers recognised the need to sustain the Technical Cooperation Programme among ASEAN countries to facilitate continuing exchange of experiences and expertise.
10. On the activities of International Trade Secretariats, the Ministers reiterated their grave concern on the increasing attempts to impose pressures on developing countries to comply with rigid ILO standards and to link such compliance with international trade privileges. The Ministers agreed that ASEAN member-countries would speak with one concerted voice against these attempts. They further agreed that ASEAN missions in Geneva should work closely together and in consultation with ASEAN representatives to the Governing Body to thwart such attempts that may undermine the collective efforts of ASEAN to achieve its development goals. The Ministers also agreed that ASEAN’s concerns on these matters should also be brought to the attention of the ILO. In view of the vast economic disparities between the developed and developing countries like ASEAN, the Ministers urged the ILO to review its labour standards to reflect the prevailing economic environment in developing countries.
11. The Ministers agreed to meet with the Director-General of ILO at the forthcoming International Labour Conference (ILC) to convey to him ASEAN’s collective concerns with the view to incorporate them in future Director-General’s Report.
12. The Meeting expressed deep appreciation for the offer of the Government of Singapore to host the Tenth ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting in 1994.
13. The delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and the people of the Philippines for the warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements for the Meeting.
14. The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN cordiality and solidarity.