THE Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said it has been served a restraining order on its plan to import 200,000 metric tons of refined sugar.

“The SRA shall hold in abeyance any official statement or act pertaining to importation and shall yield to the court’s order, in accordance with the sub-judice rule. This is without prejudice to any legal action which the SRA may thereafter undertake,” the SRA said in a statement.

On Feb. 15, the Negros Occidental Regional Trial Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Sugar Order No. 3, the import plan which the SRA said is needed to create a buffer supply between sugar seasons.

The order is in effect until March 2.

“Stakeholders are continually assured that the SRA is complying with its mandate under existing laws, rules and regulations. Its end in view is toward addressing the needs of the sugarcane industry for all concerned sectors under its authority and jurisdiction,” the SRA added.

The court will hear on Feb. 24 arguments for or against the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on sugar imports.

The United Sugar Producers Federation led the filing of the TRO, citing the need to halt imports due to depressed prices and oversupply. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson