Most parents go through an awkward stage when they need to try toexplain sexuality to their children. Howie Severino is entering thatstage now with his curious six-year-old son Alon, who has been askinghow and when he will get either a brother or a sister.
Thatinnocent query begins Howie's search for a way to answer a child'svital questions. The search takes him to a bishop, a teacher, a youthadvocate, a lawyer, a health worker, and other young kids--but alsoto discoveries about the state of sexuality education in thePhilippines. He brings Alon to a progressive school where gender issues are openly discussed with small children, and to a kids workshopin Malabon on gender and sexuality where even pre-teens are introducedto ways of protecting themselves against sexually transmitted disease.
It is the same place in Malabon where Howie returns to learn aboutwidespread youth problems that advocates say are borne out ofinadequate information about sexuality: irresponsible sexual practices,the alarming spread of gonorrhea, teen pregnancies. Howie meets earnestyouth 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.
Debateis raging now in Congress over the future of sex education. But thereal battleground may be in places like Malabon where the stakes arelife 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.
Sex education to be discussed in "I-Witness"
by posted on September 29, 2008