Trust fund set up for victims of Sylvan Lake-area crash

Three Filipinos who came to Alberta for a new life will be remembered at a funeral service in Rocky Mountain House on Friday.

A memorial to the victims of Saturday’s crash near Sylvan Lake.

Three Filipinos who came to Alberta for a new life will be remembered at a funeral service in Rocky Mountain House today.

Newlyweds Napoleon Orbigo and Blesilda (Capule) Orbigo, and Ruben Deogracias were killed on Saturday after the Ford Mustang they were riding in collided with a five-ton truck on Hwy 11, near Sylvan Lake.

“They were just so happy to be here and for the opportunity,” said Tammy Hare, owner of Panago Pizza in Rocky. “They were just so personable. You just couldn’t help but love them.”

Capule, who was known to her friends as “Blessie,” and Deogracias were Dairy Queen employees, while Orbigo worked at Panago.

Hare said Orbigo arrived in Rocky in late April to work at her restaurant. He married his longtime girlfriend Blessie in September at a banquet hall in Rocky.

“He was a fantastic employee,” said Hare. “He was a great guy. He was so happy. He was always goofy and joking around.”

Dairy Queen owner Terri-anne Laut described “Blessie” as “the sweetest person ever.”

Her two-year anniversary at the fast food restaurant would have been Thursday. Hare said she was “a pleasant and loving person.”

Deogracias, 34, had worked at the Dairy Queen for more than a year. His wife lives in Dubai. Hare said the couple had not seen each other in more than two years.

“All three of them are going to leave huge holes in our hearts,” said Laut. “Ruben’s wife is devastated. My heart breaks for everyone involved.”

Hare said the outpouring of support for the three temporary foreign workers has been outstanding. Donations for the families and to send their bodies back to the Philippines are pouring in at both restaurants. Several Rocky community members have initiated fundraisers, including collections at the recent St. Dominic Catholic School basketball game.

Cassidy Leer, organizer, said they raised almost $8,000 on Wednesday evening. She estimated they need at least $25,000 to send all three home to the Philippines. A trust account has been set up at Rocky Mountain House Credit Union under the name: Panago and Dairy Queen In Trust of Our Filipino workers account No. 723050162483.

The deaths of the three temporary foreign workers was another blow to the Filipino community in Alberta. Only three weeks ago, on Nov. 22, four temporary foreign workers from the Philippines were killed in a crash on Hwy 21 near Leduc.

Police said driver inexperience may have been a factor in the Hwy 11 collision. It is still being investigated. The driver of the Mustang was in critical condition when he was taken to hospital in Edmonton. No update on his condition has been provided.

The province is conducting a survey until Jan. 2 in order to improve the Traffic Safety Act. One of the areas on the survey addresses drivers’ licences for temporary foreign workers. Alberta Transportation spokesperson Christine Way said the province is not considering changes to the temporary foreign workers licensing and will wait until the analysis of the survey before considering any changes.

Jane Compton, president of the Filipino Association in Red Deer, said many of the temporary foreign workers who come to Canada are not familiar with black ice and winter driving conditions.

Temporary foreign workers are authorized to drive during their work term using their drivers’ licences from their home countries and an international driver’s permit.

The funeral service will be held at the Rocky Mountain House Funeral Chapel at 2 p.m. The public viewing will start at 9 a.m.

Just Posted

NDP won’t stop until Trans Mountain is built, says minister

Deron Bilous speaks at Red Deer chamber luncheon

Red Deer officials will allow Calgary to trial alcohol in parks

The result could determine if local rules are relaxed

Red Deer city council could provide more clarity around closed-door meetings, says review

Confidential matters were found to be handled appropriately by city

Special lift improves Lacombe patients’ therapy

A new mobility lift is helping physical therapy patients at Lacombe Hospital… Continue reading

Red Deer group is pushing to create a local ‘international village’ to promote unity

A city made up of immigrants has no place for intolerance, say group members

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

WestJet plane heading to Victoria slides off Edmonton runway, no injuries

EDMONTON — A WestJet plane has slid off an icy taxiway at… Continue reading

Sam Bennett scores twice, Flames beat Red Wings 6-4

Flames 6, Red Wings 4 CALGARY — Sam Bennett scored twice including… Continue reading

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Canadian tattoo artist inks Toronto skyline on Blue Jays pitcher Stroman

Marcus Stroman found a way to show his appreciation for Toronto when… Continue reading

Most Read