The world will not end tomorrow after the Philippines officially sent a notification terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, its long-time ally and former colonial master.

The move could be an effort to rebalance the imperfect relationship which has lasted for more 70 years after the end of the Second World War.

Rodrigo Duterte’s actions could actually jolt the United States to realize how Washington has been mistreating its security partner for decades, feeding it with morsel when the Americans had been very generous to untested and distrusted allies in other parts of the world.

Now is the right time for the United States to step back, reassess the value of the two allies’ longstanding shared interests and values, and come back to renegotiate a more equal status of forces agreement with the Philippines.

There is enough time for the two parties to mend their fences. The deal allowing US military presence in large numbers for training and exercises will be terminated six months after the notice was sent by Manila to Washington.

Both sides can start fixing the problem during a bilateral strategic dialogue scheduled next month.

In any relationship, it is normal for disputes and problems to arise. But the fact is both sides needed each other in the furtherance of their own respective national interests. They shared common interests and enjoyed a “warm relationship, deeply rooted in history,” the US embassy in Manila has said in a statement.

The embassy further said it would “carefully consider how best to more forward to advance our shared interests,” but described Manila’s move as a “serious step with significant implications for the US-Philippines alliance.”

Problems between the two allies had arisen before.

In 1991, a dozen senators voted to abrogate the 1947 Military Bases Agreement, kicking the US forces out of their two largest overseas bases in Subic and Clark. The Mount Pinatubo eruption aided the hasty departure of the 13th US Air Force in Clark, which relocated to Hawaii that same year. The US Navy’s 7th Fleet left Subic a year later, transferring to Japan.

In 2004, the Philippines abandoned the United States when then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo pulled out the 50-member token peacekeeping force in Iraq after a Filipino truck driver was kidnapped in Fallujah.

On both accounts, the United States felt that the Philippines betrayed the alliance. Immediately after they pulled out from the two US bases, the $200-million-a-year military aid dried up and the Philippines felt the vacuum of US presence as it lacked credible capability to defend its sovereignty. Security forces were strong only internally. China marched into South China Sea and seized control of Mischief Reef in 1995.

In 2004, a year after then US President George W. Bush designated the Philippines as a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally, the United States slashed the meager military aid and Filipino diplomats in Washington were ignored and treated like representatives from a pariah state.

But the Philippines survived, learning the hard way that it cannot just throw away its strategic partnership with the world’s largest economy and mightiest military power. And the United States realized, too, that it needed the Philippines to strengthen its own defense strategy in the Asia and Pacific region.

As early as in 2000, Rand Corp. had made a study on how important it was for the US military, particularly for its air force, to have a base in Southeast Asia, because its combat units were located farther in South Korea, Japan and Guam.

It has access to Singapore but the city-state is too small for its operational needs. It also has access to Thailand but relations with Bangkok soured after a military coup that toppled a democratically elected civilian government. Thailand also pivoted to China.

Other Southeast Asian countries have partnerships with the United States but are unwilling to host US forces. They will only allow port calls and short visits or emergency landings by distressed US military aircraft.

The United States will feel bad about the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Philippines will soon feel the immediate effect, as large-scale combined and joint military exercises “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) will end next year.

The exercises, traditionally held in April and May, will be the last after the war games were resumed in 2000, less than a year after the VFA took effect after the Senate ratified the 1998 treaty.

The Marines-led “Kamandag” exercises will be the last bilateral military training activity between the two countries. There are more than 300 small-unit cross-training, tabletop simulation activities, technical training and seminars that will end in six months.

Hundreds of Filipino soldiers will no longer attend basic, advanced and higher military training and education abroad, particularly in the United States, and US plans to improve and upgrade local bases will have to be put on hold although a different military-to-military deal covers that activity.

The fallout from the VFA termination will not be only on conventional military training, equipment and operational readiness of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but also on non-traditional military cooperation, like counter-terrorism, narcotics control, law enforcement, other transnational crimes, and disaster response and humanitarian assistance.

The 2013 Typhoon Haiyan experience is an example of how valuable the US military role is in times of great disaster, and the five-month Marawi conflict also demonstrated US military support on technical intelligence as well as in logistics support.

The United States also provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment for the Philippines to enhance its maritime domain awareness of the South China Sea, transferring brand-new Scan Eagle drones and C130-mounted sensors and cameras.

Apart from security assistance, the United States is also the country’s third largest trading partner, third largest source of tourist arrivals and one of the largest business investors.

An American company, Cerberus Capital Management, is about the sink in $2 billion to take over the South Korean Hanjin shipyard in Subic, moving its ship repair business for the US Navy in Singapore back to its old home. More than 30,000 jobs will be created by the American investor, which will partner with an Australian shipbuilder that will operate the shipyard to build six offshore patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy.

Now, the investments will hang in the balance as the termination of the VFA will put a doubt on the viability of the project. The agreement also covers the movements of US military ships and planes in the country.

The United States has a flexible military and can move its operations elsewhere. The Philippines offers the best strategic location but with newer military technology, it can bypass the country and still maintain its defense posture in the region.

It will only be more costly for the Americans to operate far from South China Sea or the Taiwan Straits if it loses the Philippines. The response time will be much slower compared with having a temporary base in Basa Air Base or in Palawan.

The United States was denied access to the Philippines after 1992 but returned in 2000. It’s about to lose again access in six months. A quarter of a century ago, the Philippines had zero external defense capability, but it’s a different story now.

Let’s see how best the United States will consider its options moving forward to protect its interest. Will Washington allow the Philippines to take the road that Thailand took in 2014, which eventually led to Bangkok falling into China’s orbit? Let’s hope Washington will realize how valuable Manila is in its evolving Indo-Pacific strategy and re-negotiate a more equal status of forces agreement.