PAGBILAO ENERGY Corp. (PEC) has secured a 20-day extension of the temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of a directive issued by Pagbilao town officials halting the company’s operations, its parent firm Aboitiz Power Corp. said.

“PEC advised [AboitizPower] that the Court extended the effectivity of the TRO issued on Feb. 28, 2018 from 72 hours to 20 days (counted from the date of the original issuance of the TRO),” the energy company told the stock exchange on Monday.

The TRO issued by the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City, Branch 57, keeps the Pagbilao cease and desist order (CDO) at bay until the third week of March. The TRO was in response to PEC’s court filing for an injunction and declaration of nullity against a resolution issued by the Sangguniang Bayan.

AboitizPower said the town officials’ order came during the course of PEC’s application for a business permit for calendar year 2018 from the municipality of Pagbilao.

The company said Pagbilao officials had required PEC to execute a memorandum of agreement (MoA) implementing its corporate social responsibility programs for an amount above the company’s approved budget.

AboitizPower said the municipality refused to issue the business permit without the executed memorandum, and instead issued the CDO against the operations of the power plant in Pagbilao.

It said PEC filed the application for injunction to prevent the municipality from implementing what it called an “unwarranted CDO.

PEC maintained that the execution of a MoA with Pagbilao is not part of the published and legal requirements for the issuance by the municipality of a local business permit.

AboitizPower said the PEC plant had received all the necessary endorsements required from the relevant local government units, namely: the Quezon provincial government, the municipality of Pagbilao, and the host barangay of Ibabang Polo.

“All clearances and endorsements from national government agencies, such as the Department of Energy, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, among others, have also been secured,” AboitizPower previously said.

PEC is a joint venture company between Therma Power, Inc. and TPEC Holdings Corp. Therma Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of AboitizPower, is the holding company its investments in non-renewable energy.

AboitizPower said the potential delay in the commercial operations of PEC’s power plant would render it unable to perform its commitments to its suppliers, customers, and to the Luzon grid. — Victor V. Saulon