On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands.  In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement.  The broader context is that President Duterte has tried to create a greater distance between the Philippines and the United States – what he calls an „independent foreign policy.“ Among the various elements of this approach are contact with Russia for closer relations and potential arms sales, as well as efforts to strengthen economic and diplomatic relations with China, even as the Philippines continues to address (with diminishing force) China`s intrusion into its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. According to many observers, the obvious reason for the dismissal was the U.S. decision to withdraw the visa from Senator Ronald dela Rosa, a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte. Dela Rosa led the Philippine National Police in 2016-18 and was considered the „primary executor“ of Duterte`s controversial „war on drugs,“ which led to thousands of extrajudicial killings. The presidential palace also reportedly called a series of actions by the U.S. Congress an „attack“ on Philippine sovereignty, including U.S. laws on the appropriation of foreign operations (P.L. 116-94; S.Rept.
116-126), which prohibits the entry of Philippine officials determined to have „participated in the illegal detention“ of Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, a critic of the anti-Justice campaign. But Duterte has long expressed a more fundamental desire to reduce the Philippines` dependence on the United States. In response to this assessment, the President`s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, quoted Duterte on 11 February 2020 as saying: „It is time to trust ourselves. We will strengthen our own defence and not rely on any other country. While the U.S. military has the largest presence abroad and thus constitutes most OF the NTAs, other countries that serve temporarily abroad negotiate the NTAs with the countries where they serve.