The tragic story of the three Filipino "drug mules" who were executed in China is a sordid one. Namely, they were: Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain. RIP mga kabayan.
That is the reality you will face if you choose to risk your life in this illegal venture especially in a foreign land. Whether you are dumb or desperate, it is what it is.
On the other hand, as it was being protested by some of the families of the executed Filipinos, Ordinario-Villanueva in particular, she was just an unwitting victim falling prey because of extending the kindness of doing a minor errand or being asked to deliver something (the Pinoy practice of "pakisuyo" or "padala" respectively) as she had no idea she was carrying contraband or an illegal substance. This unfortunate incident is something different altogether.
I linked an article below on a methodical checking of your bag's contents so as to prevent such an unwanted scenario. In spite of the language and the "tactical" (i.e. - intended for military or security personnel) tone, the method still holds even for the average traveler, whatever the occasion or the country.
Click below -
Travel bag inspection: 30-extra-minutes-of-packing-will-save-you-from-30-months-in-a-middle-eastern-prison
Some few things I need to add:
1. As it has been talked about already, we ought to be wary carrying packages and parcels as a favor for others, especially if we hardly know them. It always has been a social engineering tactic for criminal elements to zero-in on Filipinos' clannish, family-oriented, regional/provincially-identifying and "soft-hearted" ways. At the very least we ought to suspend or politely decline doing this practice for the mid-term.
2. Regard the final 2 hours before boarding your flight or actual travel as the "red flag" hours for heightening your alertness. If you've made sure the contents of your bag and packages are secure and compliant with air or sea port security checks, don't let your guard down until you've actually checked-in your bags and you properly seated or stationed in your mode of travel.
3. Proximity is danger! As with time, being in close contact with anyone who might not even seem "shady" might cause you problems. Be alert with anyone or even anything coming into close range with you or your bag or belongings. Seasoned criminals can easily steal, switch belongings or slip something in an unsecured pocket of your bags.
4. If something untoward does happen, remain calm when being questioned by security people and authorities. "Suspect" can be any word or action that might be misinterpreted against you. Ask for a representative from the consulate or embassy.
Mag-ingat po tayo!