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Surigao Sur under state of calamity

In this Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 photo, a protester spray-paints a seal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during a protest to condemn the killings of three indigenous people known as "Lumads" in Surigao Del Sur in Mindanao at the AFP general headquarters in Quezon City. The protesters accused a paramilitary group and the military in the killings on September 1 of three "Lumad" leaders. The military denied the accusation. AP/Bullit Marquez

TANDAG CITY, Philippines  – The provincial government of Surigao del Sur has declared a state of calamity due to the influx of lumads to this city, following the killing of their leaders by an armed group claiming to be anti-communist.

The lumads have been staying at the provincial sports complex arena since Sept. 1.

The declaration was contained in Resolution No. 076, which was passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in a regular session on Wednesday.

Gov. Johnny Pimentel said the declaration was made after villagers from five towns fled their homes on Aug. 9 due to the killing of two of their leaders in San Miguel.

“This was followed on Sept. 1 when two more lumad leaders and a chief of a tribal school were killed in Lianga town,” Pimentel said.

Provincial administrator Efren Rivas said three other Surigao del Sur towns were affected by the lumad unrest and evacuation.

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 Rivas said the province is running out of relief goods and funds to assist the evacuees. He said their stock is good only until Sept. 21.           

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