A Special Meeting of the ASEAN Labour Ministers convened in Baguio City on 17-19 May 1976 to consider the implementation of the mandates adopted by the ASEAN Heads of Government in their meeting in Bali on 23-24 February 1976 which are in The Declaration of ASEAN Concord, as well as to formulate ASEAN positions for the Tripartite World Conference on Employment, Income Distribution and Social Progress and the International Division of Labour and the Sixty-First Session of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva on 4-17 June and 4-27 June 1976 respectively.

The Meeting was attended by H.E. Prof. Subroto, Minister of Manpower, Transmigration and Cooperatives of Indonesia; H.E. Datuk Lee San Choon, Minister of Labour and Manpower of Malaysia; H.E. Mr. Ong Pang Boon, Minister for Labour of Singapore; Hon. Blas M. Ople, Secretary of Labour of the Philippines; and H.E. Mr. Samak Sundaravej, Deputy Minister of Interior of Thailand and their senior officials.

Hon. Blas M. Ople, Secretary of Labour of the Philippines addressed the distinguished guests during the welcome ceremonies.

In his Welcome Address, Secretary Blas M. Ople highlighted the significance of the Declaration of ASEAN Concord which he said defines the common destiny of the region and asserts the right of member countries to develop their internal strength to withstand the social pressures inherent in developing nations. He added that this Meeting represents an urgent mission to demonstrate that justice is possible even in a society burdened by mass poverty and by social institutions that are in themselves unjust. He also expressed the hope that the Special Meeting would forge an ASEAN position in the forthcoming World Employment Conference and the Sixty-First Session of the International Labour Organization in Geneva.

Hon. Blas M. Ople, leader of the Philippine delegation and H.E. Datuk Lee San Choon, leader of the Malaysian delegation were unanimously elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively.

The Meeting adopted the report of the Special Meeting of the Senior Officials of ASEAN Ministers of Labour held in Manila on 16 May 1976.

The Meeting adopted a Seven-Point Programme of Action to implement the mandates of the Meeting of ASEAN Heads of Government in Bali on 23-24 February 1976 on the social development needs of the region in the field of labour and human resources development. The Programme of Action consists of short-term and long-term projects and activities.

The Meeting also approved the machinery and mechanism for continued ASEAN cooperation in the field of labour and human resources development. Such cooperation will be governed by the existing framework provided for in the ASEAN Declaration of 1967. The Meeting decided to institutionalize the biennial Meeting of ASEAN Labour Ministers and elevated the Ad Hoc Committee on Labour to a Permanent Committee.

The Meeting adopted the ASEAN Position on the Basic Needs Strategy which is made part of this communiqué. The Meeting decided that the Basic Needs strategy should be the core of the United Nations Third Development Decade.

In keeping with the ASEAN practice of consultations, the delegations of ASEAN member countries will meet to formulate ASEAN positions and contributions to the Sixty First Session of the International Labour Organization in Geneva.

The Meeting expressed its sincere appreciation to the people and Government of the Philippines, in particular to the Department of Labour and ASEAN National Secretariat of the Philippines in the Department of Foreign Affairs for the warm and generous hospitality accorded to them, and for the excellent facilities and efficient arrangements made.

The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN cordiality and friendship