MANILA -- The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is awaiting the Spanish organizer of Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM) to propose a new date for the international gastronomy congress, after the original date was called off to give way for a public bidding, an official said Tuesday.

The MFM 2018 has been put on hold after TPB chief Cesar Montano, who was supposed to handle the event this year, made the statement in a column in a national daily.

Maricon Ebron, officer-in-charge of the TPB Marketing and Promotions Sector, confirmed to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the event is unlikely to push through this year.

She said Foro de Debate, who owns the Madrid Fusion trademark, has yet to propose a new date for the event, making it unworkable to start the bidding process immediately.

"Most probably, the event would be next year because Foro de Debate has to give us a date. At the same time, we need to check our venue," she noted. "'Pag wala silang maibigay sa amin, talagang maka-cancel nga 'yon (If they could not give us a date, MFM 2018 would indeed be cancelled). It may be next year."

Ebron said MFM 2018 was supposed to be held at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City on April 19-21, but the problem was "it was never bid out".

The first three MFMs were held at the SMX Convention Center and managed by the Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers, Inc. (PACEOS). TPB had been "getting complaints" for having the same place, and the same event manager for three consecutive years.

"It was found out that it was not bid out in the beginning. It was first awarded to PACEOS. That's why the next year around, Foro de Debate decided to have them again, which we found out to be not proper," she said.

Ebron said once an agreed date is pinned down and the bidding process starts, these parties are welcome to join, as the Department of Tourism, one of the organizers, just wants "to go through the process”. (PNA)