In the earliest days, Ponot was inhabited by the Subanen Tribes, who evidently found the place worth settling that they gradually built their homes and settled there. Is was these settlers that the Spaniards found when they colonized the country in 16th century, thereby establishing settlement especially in the western part of Mindanao.

Originally, Jose Dalman is called Ponot. It is derived from the word “Pongot” (stressed on the first syllable), a local term that means thick bushes of tall grasses and shrubs, which abound along the municipality’s shorelines.

The legendary tale that accounts to how Ponot got its name is one of the country;s heinous crime ever committed in history.

It is said that on the 17th century, a Spanish missionary, Father Francisco Paliola, S.J.; was on his way home from Sindangan to Dapitan (now a city) rode his horse when a lone bandit with a long bolo suddenly appeared from “Pongot”, attacked and beheaded him. The priest was then buried along the wide stretch of beach at Sitio Tabang near the town site and still could be found even at the present.

Later, when another wave of Spanish colonizers came and noticed the wide stretch of thick bushes found upon entering Ponot shores, asked what place it was, the natives readily answered “Pongot”, thinking that the Spaniards were asking the place where the Spanish missionary was killed and buried. Since then, the place was called “Ponot”, at which the Spaniards dropped the letter “G” as it is hard for them to pronounce.

Many years later, Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines National Hero, together with his disciple, Jose Dalman upon seeing the bounties of its natural resources as they passed by Ponot, said on the dialect, “Jose, sa panahon nga bulagon na kita sa kapalaran, baliki kining lugaraha ug dinhi igambalay ug tukura ang kaugmaon sa kinabuhi.” Thus, inspired by these words, the young Dalman went back to Ponot from their sojourn from Dapitan after Rizal was to face his fate from the Spaniards.

It was then Jose Dalman, with the help of his contemporaries, a certain Adaza and Aseniero, founded the second settlement of Ponot after the natives.

The Municipalities of Ponot, prior to its creation was one of the biggest barangays of the Municipalties of Manukan.

Early in the year 1978, Parliamentary Bill No. 148 sponsored by Assemblyman Guardson R. Lood was submitted to the Batasang Pambansa for the creation of the Municipality of Ponot in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. Then the said bill was passed into law thereby approving the creation of the Municipality of Ponot.

However, the municiaplity exercised its first legal function on August 10, 1979 after Hon. Iniego G. Dalman was sworn into office by then Governor Virginio B. Lacaya.

Upon its creation, there were eight (8) barangays composing themunicipality namely: Poblacion, Siparok, Tabon, Tamil, Manawan, Madalg, Dinsan and Lopero. In 1985, ten (10) barangays were created under the administration of Mayor Ludwig H. Adaza, namely: Balakan, Litalip, Sigamanok, Labakid, Ilihan, Lumaping, Tamrok, Marupay, Bitoon and Lipay, thus totallingthe eighteen (18) barangays within its juridical responsibility.

Then on April 8, 1983, Parliamentary Bill 1857 sponsored by then Assemblyman Guardson R. Lood through the effort of the municipal government headed by Iniego G. Dalman, in honor of the late Jose Dalman, for the deeds he has done for the development of the town and also for the donating the lot where the townsite is located.