Remembering Divine ‘Ka Zoe’ Sureta

On March 28, 2024, in the province of Quezon, Philippines, the Filipino people lost a beloved revolutionary and Red fighter — Divine ‘Ka Zoe’ Sureta. Born on May 14, 1990 in Paracale, Camarines Norte, Ka Zoe’s life as a revered Red fighter of the New People’s Army is a story of profound dedication, resilience, and sacrifice that inspires generations of indigenous peoples to take their place in the national democratic revolution.

Ka Zoe belongs to the Manide tribe, an indigenous community based in Camarines Norte and Quezon provinces. From an early age, she was inspired by a deep respect for her roots and a strong sense of responsibility for her community. Her pursuit of an AB History degree in the Camarines Norte State College was a testament to her passion for understanding and preserving the narratives of her ancestors.

After her studies, Ka Zoe was granted multiple opportunities to serve as a leader of the Manide tribe. She worked at the National Commission of Indigenous People, and served as a teacher in a number of educational institutions.

In 2016, driven by an unyielding spirit to bring about change to her community, Ka Zoe joined the NPA. Since then, Ka Zoe has courageously taken the revolutionary path of the national democratic struggle. Her commitment to the cause was unwavering, and she quickly became a symbol of strength and resilience within the revolutionary movement of the Quezon-Bicol Zone.

Ka Zoe played an instrumental role in the resurgence of mass struggles to increase copra and coconut farmgate prices to the benefit of farmers in the towns of Sta. Elena and Capalonga in Camarines Norte. She was also known as Ka Joy and Ka Jervin to the masses.

During the pandemic, Ka Zoe’s compassionate nature led her to serve as a medic, providing essential medical services across the Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon, and Bicol region. This commitment showcased her dedication to the well-being of the communities, even in the most challenging times.

Ka Zoe was also an educator. She taught indigenous children in communities including reading, writing, mathematics, and the value of conserving their cultural heritage as indigenous peoples. She empowered the next generation with the tools to honor their past, preserve their source of livelihood, and strive for a better future.

Her tragic martyrdom on March 28, 2024 together with Red fighter Paul “Ka Isko” Cruz, during an encounter in Quezon province, is a profound loss to the revolutionary movement and to the masses they dearly served. Ka Zoe’s legacy will forever be etched in the hearts of those who knew her and in the ongoing struggle for the rights and self-determination of indigenous peoples.