Most parents go through an awkward stage when they need to try to explain sexuality to their children. Howie Severino is entering that stage now with his curious six-year-old son Alon, who has been asking how and when he will get either a brother or a sister.
That innocent query begins Howie's search for a way to answer a child's vital questions. The search takes him to a bishop, a teacher, a youth advocate, a lawyer, a health worker, and other young kids--but also to discoveries about the state of sexuality education in the Philippines. He brings Alon to a progressive school where gender issues are openly discussed with small children, and to a kids workshop in Malabon on gender and sexuality where even pre-teens are introduced to ways of protecting themselves against sexually transmitted disease.
It is the same place in Malabon where Howie returns to learn about widespread youth problems that advocates say are borne out of inadequate information about sexuality: irresponsible sexual practices, the alarming spread of gonorrhea, teen pregnancies. Howie meets earnest youth advocate Kiko who overcomes taboos to talk to teens about knowing their bodies, the proper use of condoms, and identifying disgusting diseases contracted through sex.
Debate is raging now in Congress over the future of sex education. But the real battleground may be in places like Malabon where the stakes are life and death, and the future of its young residents.
Howie Severino's insightful documentary on sexuality education airs this Monday late night over GMA-7.