In what appears to be a “tit-for-tat” move, the Philippine government said that it will remove a privilege known as the “visa-on-arrival” to American citizens if the American government enforces a ban on Filipino officials who wish to enter the United States.

The squabble is based on the U.S. Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill 2020, authored by two U.S. Democratic Senators and signed into law by U.S. President Donald J. Trump on Dec. 20.

Somewhere in the bill is language stating that people deemed as human rights offenders can be denied entry into the U.S. as well as have their assets frozen. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and several Filipino officials and public figures have been accused of the unlawful detention of Senator Leila de Lima, who stands accused of corruption charges. De Lima is an outspoken critic of Duterte.

De Lima’s supporters claim that the charges are politically motivated and thus, her detention is unlawful. The bill classifies wrongful detention as a gross violation of human rights putting Duterte, his spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo and others on the “hot-seat” for being categorized as human rights offenders. Duterte has already caught the attention of human rights activists over his war on drugs.

The spokesperson Panelo said, in a briefing, that Philippine authorities will take the removal of visa on arrival action if the U.S. Secretary of State bans local Filipino officials from traveling to America based on “credible information” that they are linked to Ms. De Lima’s “unlawful” incarceration since 2017.

The immediate action over the U.S. bill was Panelo’s announcement that the President “is immediately ordering the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to deny US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, the imperious, uninformed and gullible American legislators who introduced the subject provision in the US 2020 Budget, entry to the Philippines.”

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra pointed out to reporters, on Friday, that removing the visa on arrival privilege is contingent on if the U.S. travel ban against certain Filipino individuals is actually implemented.

Panelo went on to say that “when the President (Duterte) makes a decision, all circumstances are factored in,” indicating that the planned action was well thought out. It is not known if those thoughts were for U.S. citizens who may decide to change their plans to visit the Philippines that will hurt the country’s tourism industry or if it is a move to prevent a closer examination of his own administration. It could even be a ploy to thwart the U.S. Senators to the benefit of President Donald Trump.

Travelers take out their passports before checking in at San Diego International Airport in San Diego, California, Jan. 8, 2006. Getty Images/ Sandy Huffaker