Charting new directions in Philippines-U.S. ties?

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(File photos) United States President Barack Obama (L), Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (R)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It's just another "lovers' quarrel."

Political analyst Richard Heydarian believes the recent dust-up between President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Barack Obama won't harm the strong ties between the Philippines and U.S. But the country's relations are bound to change under Duterte's administration. 

Duterte and Obama were scheduled to meet for the first time on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Vientiane, Laos on Tuesday afternoon.

But the White House announced the cancellation of their bilateral meeting earlier that day.

This came after Duterte, in a press conference Monday, warned Obama against bringing up the issue of alleged human rights violations in the country's drug war during the summit.

Read: Duterte: I am not beholden to Obama, my master is the Filipino people

Duterte, however, clarified in a statement that the two countries "mutually agreed" on moving the meeting to a later date.

He also said in a statement that he "regrets" that his "strong comments to certain press questions" came out as a "personal attack" on the U.S. President.

Read: After cursing Obama, Duterte expresses regret

"I think in any intimate relationship, quarrels or what we call LQs are unavoidable," Heydarian said, comparing the two countries' ties to a romantic relationship.

"That could be resolved over time," just like any other LQ, Heydarian told CNN Philippines.

But former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said with the cancellation of the meeting, the two countries just missed a "golden opportunity."

"The invaluable occasion to have our leaders meet in order to be able to discuss the strengthening of our comprehensive cooperation would have been a golden opportunity," Del Rosario said.

Love-hate relationship

The Philippines and U.S. have shared over seven decades of diplomatic relations.

After occupying the Philippines for almost five decades, the U.S. granted its independence in 1946, which also marked the start of the two countries' diplomatic ties.

The first landmark agreement was signed in less than a year — the Military Bases Agreement of 1947, which allowed U.S. military presence in the country.

Manila let Washington set up bases in Clark and Subic.

They also signed a Mutual Defense Treaty in 1951, which forced each country to respond to any armed attack against its ally.

But when the Philippine Constitution was changed in 1987, it included a provision that banned foreign military troops and facilities in the country:

After the expiration in 1991 of the Military Bases Agreement of 1947 between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

After the Military Bases Agreement expired in 1991, the Senate, voting 12-11, rejected another proposed treaty that would have extended the presence of U.S. military in the country, in effect ordering the closure of the Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base.

Opposition groups lobbied against these bases for reasons that they threatened the country's sovereignty and caused prostitution to proliferate.

A Visiting Forces Agreement was however signed in 1999, allowing the holding of joint military exercises.

Some lawmakers want this deal revoked after US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith raped a Filipina in 2005 and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal  Joseph Scott Pemberton killed Jennifer Laude in 2014.

Read: Joseph Scott Pemberton found guilty of homicide, sentenced to 6-12 years in prison

Early this year, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of another agreement — the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), granting Americans access to five Philippine bases without rental or similar fees.

Read: Supreme Court affirms decision on EDCA's constitutionality

Also under the EDCA, there will be more U.S.-Philippines joint military exercises, such as the Balikatan, aimed at increasing the Philippines' capacity to defend itself during territorial disputes.

Financial aid

It's not all military.

The Philippines has also been one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance in Southeast Asia, based on data from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

It received more than $5 billion in aid over the past 30 years, making U.S. its largest grant donor.

The U.S. government also helped the Philippines recover from Super Typhoon Yolanda (International name: Haiyan), one of the strongest tropical storms to have made landfall in the country.

Of the $240 million in disaster assistance given to the Philippines over the last 10 years, 60 percent were given for recovery and rehabilitation efforts after the onslaught of Yolanda.

Military aid, meanwhile, reached $66 million in 2015, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said.

Will it change under Duterte admin?

Even before assuming office, Duterte has repeatedly declared independence from the Philippines' long-term security ally.

Heydarian said he has not seen or studied any other Filipino president who sought such self-reliance.

In June, then President-elect Duterte told reporters the country will not rely on the U.S. in dealing with its issue with China over the disputed South China Sea.

"It will not be dependent on America. And it will be a line that is not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest," Duterte said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Duterte reiterated that the Philippines wants to chart an independent foreign policy "while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the US with which we have had a long standing relationship."

Although the relationship between the Philippines and U.S. remains strong, it will no longer be that "special," Heydarian said.

"We are entering the Post-American era where the Unites States is not the only superpower but we also have China, Japan and other important countries around the world," Heydarian said. "We need to diversify our foreign relations."

CNN Philippines' Digital Producer Eimor Santos and Reuters contributed to this report.