In a move that should surprise no one, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has announced on Tuesday that he would scrap a security pact that allows American forces to train there without the usual visa or passport control.

Duterte has been very vocal about his anti-American feelings since being elected back in 2017, despite the United States aiding Filipinos in their ongoing insurgency against Islamist extremists

This latest flap with Washington came when Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoso Locsin Jr. announced that the country was unilaterally canceling the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), with the United States. The 1999 VFA pact exempts American military personnel from passport and visa regulations when arriving for joint exercises and training of troops in the Philippines.

The development comes after Washington’s decision last month to cancel the U.S. visa of Philippines Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, who was the chief of the Philippine National Police. Rosa was implicated in extrajudicial killings during the brutal national “War on Drugs” at the time when Duterte took office. The State Department was following its own guidelines of denying visas to persons implicated in gross human rights violations.

When this happened, Duterte threatened to end the VFA unless the visa for Dela Rosa was immediately reinstated. 

“It’s about time we rely on ourselves, we will strengthen our own defenses and not rely on any other country,” said Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo during a regularly scheduled press conference.

He added that Manila would be open to similar agreements with other countries. “As long as it is favorable to us and there is a mutual benefit to both countries, we are open,” he said. The U.S. Embassy in Manila issued a statement on Tuesday calling Duterte’s move “a serious step with significant implications for the U.S.-Philippine alliance.”

“We will carefully consider how best to move forward to advance our shared interests,” the statement read. Washington has 180 days to answer the announcement of VFA’s termination. Some diplomats consider it a bargaining chip by the Philippines for more and better concessions from Washington.