“In order to see real change, we have to break the system of violent and clannish politics.” This was the statement made by Prof. Aurora de Dios, WAGI executive director, during the second run of the Seminar Workshop on “How to Run and Win Elections” held last April 15 to 16, 2016 at Pryce Plaza Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City.
 
Twenty-eight candidates from Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, and Lanao attended the training which aimed to introduce a systematic and strategic way of campaigning and winning votes. 
 
“We just don’t want women to run, but we want them to win.” This was emphasized by Dr. Socorro L. Reyes, the lead facilitator and speaker. The training, likewise, focused on building and increasing the competence and confidence of women candidates as well as encouraging them to develop a gender-sensitive election agenda within the context of peace and security from the Bangsamoro women’s perspective. 
 
Critical issues were raised by the participants in relation to elections such as the voters’ illiteracy, rampant ghost voters, and tampered ballots. As women candidates, they were challenged to address those concerns along with existing gender issues in their respective communities, particularly gender-based violence which are inextricably rooted within the context of peace and security.  As pointed out by Atty. Salma Rasul of PCID, “your service is not just for you but for your community and the people regardless of their religious beliefs.”
 
This event was organized by WAGI with the Center for Legislative Development and the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy through the Women’s Peace Collective (WPC) supported by the U.S. Department of States.